Angela Constance, Minister for Children and Young People, visited Fife to see first hand a multi-agency initiative which is helping families recover from their experience of domestic abuse.
Each year in Fife there are 4000 incidents of domestic abuse reported to the Public Protection Unit; 30-40% of children in police Cause for Concern reports relate to domestic abuse and a high proportion of children witness incidents.
CEDAR provides a therapeutic 12 week group work programme for children and young people alongside a group to support mothers.
By taking an holistic approach to help ‘heal’ the devastating affects of domestic abuse, the results of the three year pilot is showing that children and young people are more able to understand & come to terms with their experiences and able to keep themselves safe with improved support from their mothers who are more able to reflect on their child’s need.
Ms Constance said-
“I’d like to commend the work of the Cedar initiative and all those involved in what is a hugely important programme.
Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on family life. Projects such as Cedar can play a huge part in helping repair the damage it causes, allowing the affected youngsters to share their experiences and start to build a pth towards a happier and safer future.”
Sheila Noble, Co-ordinator of Fife Domestic and Sexual Abuse Partnership and CEDAR Fife Manager said:- “The impact of domestic abuse on children and young people can be profound. They may have lived with abuse for many years before the impact on their wellbeing is identified or they get help.”
CEDAR understands that it is really important that children and their mothers are able to talk about the abuse as many families adopt a “conspiracy of silence” in an attempt to protect each other.
“Children from 4 to 16 years share their experience of domestic abuse in a group of their peers. Here they learn that it is not their fault; how to keep themselves safe and how to deal with feelings, such as anger, positively. Mothers also attend group to understand domestic abuse from their child’s point of view, to help their child through the programme and to be there for them in future.”
Cllr George Kay, Strategic Chair: Police Fire & Safety Committee said:
“Domestic abuse is a Community Safety priority in Fife. This Government funded initiative has helped us to adopt new approaches, best practice and build on our strong partnership working to intervene at an early stage. Our work is showing results to help children and young people to recover their experiences in many ways such as improving their personal relationships and capacity to learn at school.”
Some quotes from those involved in CEDAR:
“I’ve been able to talk to my mum when there’s something wrong and my mum says that’s actually a lot better because she’s able to sort it all out” (boy 11 yrs)
“It’s a place where you can relax a wee bit and just talk about it slowly, you’re not having to be in a rush, or you’re not like tied with an adult, like trying to push you on” (boy 16 yrs)
“She’s excelling in school, she really is, her school report is amazing… I was just grinning from ear to ear reading it” (mother)
“Cedar’s brought us closer as a family. I’m more confident than I was… I can go out and do things more. I’ve learned that its not my fault” (mother)
“I’ve learnt from talking to mothers – it was a real eye opener for them – and for me. The mothers supported my learning. In any group there’s learning for you as a participant – even if you’re a facilitator” (facilitator)