what cedar achieves
The aim of Cedar is to strengthen the relationship between children and mothers, allowing mums to support their children recover from domestic abuse. Cedar gives children the opportunity to explore their feelings in a safe space and gives mums the tools to help their children recover.
Group work is a powerful way to raise understanding about the impact of domestic abuse on children and young people. This way of working can be less directly confrontational and stigmatising and gives children and young people an opportunity to be both respected and responsible. Being in a group and focussing on these issues with peers can be powerful and empowering.
What we know from evaluating the project over a three year period:
Through Cedar, children and young people learn that their experience of abuse was not their fault and that they were not alone in their experience. This helps build self-esteem and helps children see themselves and their lives differently. Cedar groups are positive and relaxed, but the structured curriculum and range of activities help children and young people transform their understanding of domestic abuse and reduce self-blame.
For mothers, listening to other women’s stories helps them to realise that abuse has not just happened to them – this helps to reduce self-blame and isolation and transforms mums’ perceptions of themselves as both mothers and women.
Children and young people learn how to manage their emotions & their actions in response to domestic abuse
Cedar teaches children and young people strategies to recognise their feelings and to deal with their anger. The Cedar programme gives children, young people and mothers a language to talk about their feelings and experiences through varied creative and playful activities.
Children and young people learn about safety planning, while mothers are supported with how to talk about safety and safety planning with their children.
Reducing self-blame helps to calm family relationships through a new shared understanding of domestic abuse. Understanding the past and being able to talk about it with their mums makes children and young people happier; and this in turn allows them to cope better at home and at school.
Cedar has a powerful and positive impact on relationships between mothers and children and families have a positive future outlook
Feedback from Cedar graduates – children, young people and mothers – who have completed the Cedar programme is very positive. Cedar graduates have found that their family relationships have been restored as a result of Cedar and that they have a much more positive future outlook. Families feel a sense of control over their own lives, with improved physical and mental health, better performance in school and improved family relationships.
Just that I’m so glad I stuck with it and braved talking about some of my personal feelings and problems.