North Down and Ards Women’s Aid provides a range of free support services to children and young people affected by domestic and sexual violence.
Over the years, our service provision has developed to include working with children and young people, both in refuge and in the community. This development is grounded upon a wealth of expertise and is driven by the voices and experiences of families who have experienced domestic violence and accessed support. Children and young people’s needs are responded to at all points of service delivery.
Group work with children and young people is a valuable element of support and a range of programmes have been developed. Preventative education in schools and youth settings presents an early intervention for those who may currently be experiencing domestic violence and also those who may be at risk.
Specialist staff offer support and guidance to children and young people who arrive at the refuge with their mother. They provide childcare, run play sessions and arrange activities and outings during school holidays. This support allows children and young people to explore and resolve the issues they have in relation to their experience of domestic abuse in a safe and confidential environment.
All our work with children and young people is based on these fundamental principles:
- Domestic violence impacts negatively on children and young people as victims and witnesses.
- Children and young people have a right to safety and support services, which enable them to thrive and reach their full potential.
- By supporting mothers who have experienced domestic violence, children and young people are also supported.
- Children and young people have in built resilience, and with appropriate support and early intervention, this resilience can be nurtured and developed.
- Partnership working with other agencies is essential to ensure children and young people’s voices are heard and support is available.