16 Days of Activism – Our Children’s and Young People’s Services
The impact of domestic abuse on children and young people is devastating. The effect on each individual varies but can include: nightmares and flashbacks; difficulties sleeping; bed wetting; anxiety; lower sense of self-worth; self-harm and post traumatic stress disorder.
At Changing Pathways we have developed specialist services to support children who have experienced domestic abuse. Natasha, our Children and Young People’s Service Manager gives us an insight into the invaluable of work of her and her team.
I start my day with a presentation to a local business about our children and young people’s services. In the run up to Christmas we are invited to give talks to local supporters to raise money for Christmas activities. The support we have in our local community is amazing and our children receive fantastic Christmas presents due to supporter generosity. I then make my way to one of our refuges to catch up with my team on any safeguarding concerns and to get our play room and garden ready for our daily OFSTED registered crèche for children who live in the refuge. Our crèche gives the children time to play, supported by qualified childcare professionals. It also gives our mums time to catch up with their key worker, have a counselling session or just some time to themselves to rest!
Afternoon sees me attending a core group meeting with one of our mums and their social worker. I then return to the refuge to deliver an art therapy session for children and after this the children and young people can come to our play room to tell us about their day and have a chat! Before leaving the refuge, I check my emails and take a final look at a video developed by Essex County Council #Togetherwecan, this video is based on the experiences of one of our previous service users. The video is available here.
Having worked in refuge for nearly 14 years I am motivated by our children and young people. Refuge is a much needed service. It is a place where children and young people can feel safe and secure but more importantly have fun and give them a chance to be children again after what they have witnessed. We have a ‘golden opportunity’ whilst our children are in refuge to put as much support and therapy in place for children and young people to help them recover. I believe that we have a duty to ensure we do the best we can so that children have the tools to make decisions and build their confidence.
Sufficient and sustainable funding is always a challenge in our work but we will continue to work hard to raise awareness and funds for our vital services.