Children affected by domestic abuse in Nottinghamshire will be given more help to recover from the harm experienced in their homes.
It comes after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire was successful in a £1m funding bid to help tackle a growing need for support for some of the county’s most vulnerable youngsters.
The cash will help pay for specialist training and support to nursery and primary school workers to help spot the signs of domestic abuse, as well as giving more children access to a range of therapeutic support services.
The proposals include piloting a specialist Early Years domestic abuse training package to nursery practitioners across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
Hundreds more children will also be given access to specialist therapy to help their emotional health and wellbeing, feelings of safety and freedom to go about their daily life.
Additional wrap-around support will also be provided for some of the most vulnerable primary school children who disclose domestic abuse during existing healthy relationship programmes in school.
The two-and-a-half-year funding, which comes from the Home Office, will also allow the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to employ a new engagement officer to work with young people to help shape future services – seeking the views of those with lived experience of domestic abuse on the best ways to support other children.
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “The trauma of experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse can be life-changing for children, making them more vulnerable to becoming a victim or perpetrator of further crimes in later life.
“No child should have to suffer in their own homes and it’s important that the whole community is vigilant and reports any suspicions so that police and partner agencies can safeguard and support them.
“Nottinghamshire Police recorded more than 4,000 domestic abuse crimes in 2021-22 which happened when at least one child was present.
“We know that domestic abuse is underreported, so this is just the tip of the iceberg. We also know that there is a huge and growing need for support for children and young people impacted by domestic violence.
“This funding will allow us to help more children at the earliest opportunity, giving them a better chance of recovering from harm and going on to lead a normal life.”
The number of children recorded as victims of domestic abuse is set to rise due to a change in the law at the end of 2021, through the Domestic Abuse Act, which recognises children as victims of domestic abuse in their own right when they see or hear abuse in their family.
A number of agencies have been involved in the development of the proposals to improve the offer for children affected by domestic abuse in Nottinghamshire – including Nottingham-based domestic abuse charity Equation.
Anthea Tainton, Head of Service, Children and Young People, at Equation, said: “Equation is delighted to be receiving some of the funding to be able to extend our training provision to professionals in the Early Years sector. Children are now being recognised as victims of domestic abuse in their own right.
“Exposure to domestic abuse causes serious physical and psychological harm to children. Early Years professionals are in a unique position to be able to recognise and respond to children’s experience of abuse alongside partner support agencies. This will ensure that children can have their feelings and emotions validated, access further support to build their resilience and be steered towards positive coping strategies.
“The funding will ensure workers across this sector feel equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources to provide a more effective response.”