A specialist support service for children and young people who have experienced, or witnessed, domestic abuse is being piloted in Swindon.

Delivered by Swindon Domestic Abuse Service (SWA) and commissioned by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) the pilot offers 1-2-1 support for those aged seven to 18 years old and helps them manage difficult emotions, learn about healthy relationships and develop coping strategies and problem-solving skills to build resilience.

Kieran Kilgallen, OPCC Chief Executive, said: “Domestic abuse can have a devasting effect on children and young people, and we know that adverse experiences suffered during childhood can change the direction of a young person’s life.

“A priority in the current Police and Crime Plan is to protect the most vulnerable in society, and this project not only helps children and young people overcome the trauma they have been exposed to but also encourages them to make sense of their experiences and cope with future change with the aim of limiting any long-term impact.”

The service is accessible through all primary schools, secondary schools and colleges across the town. Parents wishing their children to have this support from SWA just need to speak to their child’s school, or college, to request a referral.

Katie Woolhouse, CYP Outreach Worker for SWA, said: “The service has been incredibly well supported by Swindon’s schools and colleges.

“It is absolutely vital that we recognise the lasting effects of a child experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse. The project allows us to plug the gap in support that is otherwise unavailable.

“As a specialist domestic abuse support service, we are able to approach the 1-2-1 sessions with a specific focus on the recovery from the trauma associated with their domestic abuse experiences, which makes the project unique, crucial and incredibly worthwhile.”

For more information about domestic abuse support for children and young people in Swindon please visit https://swadomesticabuse.org/our-services/children-young-people/