The Minister for Justice the Hon Samantha Sacramento, as Minister with responsibility for Safeguarding children and leading on Domestic Abuse, is pleased to announce the development of a new service for children who experience domestic abuse in Gibraltar.
As part of the Government’s National Strategy for tackling domestic abuse, Minister Sacramento has commissioned Childline, in collaboration with the NSPCC in the UK, to deliver an evidenced based recovery programme for children and their non-abusing parent. This programme will also be supported by the Care Agency.
The Domestic Abuse Recovery Together programme has been introduced in many local authorities in the UK, and is recognised in the UK by the Home Office. Minister Sacramento is very pleased to bring this programme to Gibraltar. This programme enables children and their parents to communicate and rebuild their relationships and also provides children and their parents opportunities to meet others who have lived through similar experiences.
According to research carried out by the NSPCC, those children affected by domestic abuse in their early years, are four times more likely to go on to experience or perpetrate domestic abuse later in life. Further studies have also concluded that children affected by domestic abuse are at greater risk of falling into substance abuse, juvenile pregnancy and criminal behaviour than those raised in homes without violence.
The Domestic Abuse Recovery Together programme takes place over a ten-week cycle. Parents and children aged 7-14 years meet for a weekly two-hour group session. Children and parents work together for an hour at the start of the group, and then take part in activities in separate groups. At the end of each session, they join together again.
Parents will learn more about:
- how domestic abuse happens
- how it affects children.
They will also explore experiences and strategies that can be used as a parent.
Children take part in activities together that help them build their own understanding of domestic abuse and how they are feeling.
Childline CEO Ms Caroline Carter said: “Childline is very grateful to Minister Sacramento for the funding provided by the Ministry for Justice to introduce this programme and to Mr Carlos Banderas the CEO of the Care Agency who will be supporting this programme. Childline receives many contacts every year from frightened children living with domestic abuse across Gibraltar, and we know that it can cause serious harm to children’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
We want all children, and their parents, who have suffered domestic abuse to have access to the right services to help keep them safe and recover from these traumatic experiences”.
In introducing this programme, Minister Sacramento stated: “It is heart-breaking to think that all too often children are unwittingly caught up in the effects of domestic abuse and for some, the mental scars of such early exposure will significantly impact on them for the rest of their lives, this is why ‘breaking the cycle’ of abuse is so crucial.
However, we can intervene early to give these children and young people a lifeline through organisations like the Care Agency, the Department of Education, Childline, and other organisations who are already providing services.
In addition to the existing services, this programme will help support and further enhance services to children in Gibraltar. Government is absolutely committed to tackling the appalling crime of domestic abuse and we are determined that no one should suffer, least of all children”.