A 14 year old girl told me that during regular violent arguments between her mother and stepfather she would care for her 5 year old brother. She would put him to bed and read to him. She said that this helped keep them both calm, and out of harm’s way; then as soon as her step father left after an argument, she would go downstairs to see if her mother was ok.
The girl told me this in a phone call she made to a helpline, in the midst of one such violent incident. Her manner and her calmness during such chaos was incredible. The police were contacted, and they began to work with social care to support them.
Whilst I will never know the long term impact of these incidents on this family, we do know that domestic abuse has a significant negative effect on children.
In this Diocese, we always include information about domestic abuse in our safeguarding training and we work in partnership with statutory agencies and voluntary organisations to promote awareness. This website has information about preventing and tackling domestic abuse in this county www.glostakeastand.com.
We are about to launch some new training focusing on domestic abuse during the “16 days of action to prevent violence against women and girls.” You can find details of our training here www.gloucester.anglican.org/about-us/safeguarding.
My hope is, through doing all we can to promote awareness, that more people will be more aware of what to look out for, and know how to respond to those affected by domestic abuse, and that this will enable help to be offered earlier to families in situations like the one described to me.
Becca Faal, Diocesan Safeguarding Officer