Children and young people: domestic abuse recovery and COVID-19
Across Scotland, COVID-19 has increased the risk and intensity of domestic abuse for children, young people and women. Equally, for those who have previously experienced domestic abuse, the restrictions of lockdown—the isolation, difficulties in accessing family, friends and community support—will have exacerbated the trauma borne from those past experiences of abuse and control.
Domestic abuse services have also had to dramatically redesign how they support children, young people and women during the pandemic. Some services have faced hugely increased demand and have had to find new ways of providing virtual support, while others have had to curtail services because of social distancing restrictions, staff health and homeworking challenges. While domestic abuse is often hidden and significantly under-reported, it is broadly anticipated that demand for services will increase as lockdown restrictions ease and women and children are more able to safely disclose and access support.
Due to social distancing restrictions, local Cedar Projects across Scotland were forced to stop delivering therapeutic groupwork in March and have creatively adapted their support during this period—more details are in our first blog. As a Cedar Network, we have been sharing good practice, challenges and opportunities with each other to ensure children, young people and their mothers who are beginning or already on their recovery journey still have access to vital support. With support and flexibility from the National Lottery Community Fund—the main funder of local Cedar Projects across Scotland–the Cedar Network is currently co-developing service redesign to restart delivery of therapeutic recovery support in the coming months, as it will be more important than ever that children, young people and their mothers have the support to recover from their trauma.
We are pleased to launch this blog series, which will run over the next few months, to share learning from across the Cedar Network from lockdown into the “new normal”. We hope to share good practice that will be useful to other organisations and services that support children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse and other forms of VAWG. We will use this space to share updates on how local Cedar Projects across Scotland have adapted and redesigned their services to ensure they are safe, resilient and effective during COVID-19. We also aim to use this as an opportunity to highlight the importance of early intervention support and tackling VAWG in broader recovery and renewal across Scotland. Finally, we will use this as an opportunity to highlight wherever possible the voices of children, young people and their mothers who have been affected by domestic abuse, as their voices must be at the centre of local and national community renewal.