‘Keeping Children Safe From Domestic Abuse’ – a free webinar by MyConcern, on Tuesday 7th July 2020. Below are my takeaway points from the webinar (in no particular order of importance – just as they occurred during the event).
1. On the importance of school, one of the speakers said, “The only place I felt safe [from the man who abused me] was school, because I wasn’t safe anywhere else.” ‘Somebody just listening to me and asking me whether I was OK just opened the floodgates for me to talk about what was happening.’
2. People who are abused can go on to act as protectors to others, e.g. siblings.
3. Predators can go from one setting to another if they are not caught and dealt with.
4. The signs of abuse aren’t always clear. They can show up in other behaviour, such as cutting yourself, wetting yourself when scared (mostly in smaller children), and throwing up.
5. Abuse can happen to anyone. We shouldn’t stereotype who is ‘most likely’ to suffer from it. Abuse knows no class, profession, status, religion or gender.
6. One in four women are experiencing domestic abuse right now.
7. Victims often still love the person that is abusing them, so they may try to cover for them and defend them. They may not necessarily (and often don’t) come forward first time.
8. Early intervention is key.
9. Coercive and controlling behaviour is the foundation of all other types of abuse.
10. Children growing up in households where abuse takes place may not know how to develop or sustain healthy relationships. They may attempt to compensate for their own vulnerabilities by jumping into relationships before knowing the full picture as to who they’re getting involved with, which comes with risks.
11. The needs and behaviours of children suffering from abuse can be so different. It’s about forming relationships so that they trust you completely and creating an environment where they feel safe disclosing to you. Keep a look out for out of the ordinary behaviours that may signal wider issues at play.
12. Schools should provide the child with a safe platform/space for them to disclose anything they wish to.
13. Retracting statements is quite common. The main thing is that the victim knows that when/if something happens again, they can come to you. You may not be able to make someone follow through, but keep conversations and dates logged and keep that trust with them. Serve as that lifeline they can use when they’re ready.
You can see more of the MyConcern webinars at https://www.myconcern.co.uk/webinars/