Free Your Mind CIC is a peer-led, not-for-profit children’s domestic violence and trauma support service, we have seen a staggering rise of 900% for our specialist services. We are currently the only service in the UK that focusses on specifically supporting children and young people who have witnessed domestic abuse in the home.
We are entirely dependent on donations for our revenue stream, and are putting out an urgent call to action, to raise funds to help meet this unprecedented demand.
This crowdfunding project will raise funds for our 'Hear My Voice' initiative. We want to make it so that every child's voice is heard.
We have worked around the clock in order to try and respond to this huge increase in referrals and are proud that they are currently maintaining waiting lists of no longer than 12 weeks, beating the national average waiting time of 3 months to 2 years currently being offered by other providers such as Action for Children and CAMHS.
Whilst referrals continue to rise exponentially, donations have not kept pace, and now our new 'Hear My Voice' fundraising initiative will help us to ensure we can reach each and every child on our waiting list and beyond.
Based in East London, we has seen the first-hand the effects of children and young people who are either exposed to domestic abuse and/or reflecting on the abuse they’ve witnessed and the trauma they’ve suffered. In 2019, we received 50-60 referrals in the whole year and in March 2020 we received 30 referrals in one month alone, a 900% increase from 2019. With our focus usually on children and young people from Redbridge and Waltham Forrest areas, we are now dealing with additional requests for urgent help from other London boroughs.
Our Founder, Managing Director and Lead Practitioner says, “All children or young people witnessing domestic violence are being emotionally abused”.
All of Free Your Mind’s Practitioners have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse themselves, so are able to provide unique insights for those we support.
Staggeringly, in Britain, 1 in 7 children and young people under 18 years old will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood. In 90% of domestic violence incidents, children or young people are in the same room or room next door.
The aim of this vital fundraising initiative is to keep these services available to support children and young people currently on the Free Your Mind referral waiting list – which is London wide.
As lockdown measures open up and the UK returns to normal, the fallout of domestic abuse trauma will remain for these children and young people. Free Your Mind’s mission is for every child and young person to be heard across London and the UK. Donations to Free Your Mind will help enable every child and young person is heard.
As a small not-for-profit organisation, all donations go directly to supporting children, ensuring our practitioners can continue to provide specialist counselling for children and young people, without any financial barriers in the way.
Who We Are
We are a small grassroots organisation that punches above our weight, we have ambitions to reach every child and young person who needs support across London and the UK.
In 2019 our Founder, Managing Director and Lead Practitioner, Natasha Benjamin was selected by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour as an ‘Inspirational Woman’ to watch, as well as the winner of ITV/Lorraine Kelly’s Inspirational Woman Of The Year Award.
We were founded in 2013 after Natasha herself suffered a mental health breakdown following the fallout of her own lived experience of witnessing domestic abuse at home.
What We Do
The types of services Free Your Mind CIC provides includes counselling, play therapy, meditation, CBT-based therapy. Sessions with each child and young person is personalised according to their needs and experiences.
Currently, sessions have continued during the Covid-19 pandemic using a bespoke in-house secure videocall service, as well as phone calls.
We provide 6 – 12 sessions for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years old. The number of sessions varies according to each child or young person’s experiences.
Free Your Mind’s Practitioners are qualified in relevant therapies and peer support and participate in training to ensure they are providing the best service for children and young people.
£5 counts towards postage for us to be able to send a package with items to improve a young person’s mental health and wellbeing.
£10 counts towards us being able to make a difference in a young person’s life by sending them items for a package to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
£30 will enable us to pay for a young person to travel to our safe space during normal times and have one session with one of our trained practitioners.
£50 helps us to give a young person two one to one support sessions to help them find the tools to heal from the trauma of their childhood.
£150 will help us to provide a young person with 6 weeks worth of counselling to help them to heal from their experiences and to eventually lead a healthy and happier life.
- Free Your Mind CIC has noted a 900%* in demand for its service, based on figures recorded from March 2019 to March 2020.
- Collecting reliable data on this hidden issue has several challenges. In almost every country there is limited data available on the prevalence of domestic violence, and even less information on the numbers of children who may be exposed to such violence. Some countries have no data at all.
- 1 in 3 children will have a mental illness as a direct result of domestic abuse. (NSPCC)
- 1.8 million Children are affected by domestic violence in the UK. The police recorded an almost 10% increase in domestic abuse across Britain from March to June in 2020, from the same period in 2019. (ONS)
- Violent stepfathers killed 740 more mothers than paternal fathers. (Pritchard, University of Bournemouth)
- 1 in 7 children and young people under 18 years old will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood. (Pritchard, University of Bournemouth)
- In 90% of domestic violence incidents, children or young people are in the same room or room next door. (Hughes, 1992)