There are over 17,000 children living in Sheffield who are adversely affected by domestic abuse every year.
Haven's Children and Young People's Practitioners support these children and young people in Sheffield to help them to address the issues that occur as a result of domestic abuse, and move on to positive, hopeful futures.
How can domestic abuse affect children and young people?
Children who live in a household where there is domestic abuse between intimate partners (parents, step-parents, or other carers) can be left feeling vulnerable, isolated and alone. They can struggle to build trusting and appropriate relationships with adults or other children, and it can affect their development in a range of ways, such as their emotional wellbeing, and ability to engage with education.
Research shows just 17% of mothers talk to their children about the abuse, leaving many parents and children feeling guilty and anxious.
The impact of domestic abuse can directly affect the whole family, but particularly the children who directly witness or experience domestic abuse. Often these children are not able to communicate their feelings, this can sometimes lead to behavioural difficulties that can impact the family as a whole. Children can display chaotic or withdrawn behaviours and family cohesion becomes increasingly more difficult with parents losing confidence in their own parenting. When we work with children and young people we work from the basis that change is possible, to build strong healthy relationships, to address the experiences they have had, work with their emotions, and find tools to make a better life for themselves. You can find out more about this on the CandYP page.
Schools can struggle to recognise the underlying problem when children display behavioural problems. That is why organisations such as Haven House are vital in ensuring every child affected by domestic abuse has access to an adult who understands. We work closely with primary and secondary schools across Sheffield to advise around behaviour and pastoral support for children and young people affected by domestic abuse. We work with teachers, school management/leadership, safeguarding and child protection staff, learning mentors and SENCOs to find the best way to support children and young people.