The needs of children and young people affected by violence and abuse.
Today Welsh Women’s Aid is bringing together specialist services and stakeholders from across Wales to focus on the needs of children and young people affected by violence and abuse. Those attending will have a chance to talk to the new Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, Nicole Jacobs, as well as hear from the expertise of Anna Mitchell, UK lead for ‘Safe & Together’ model and Anna Weedon, from The Lighthouse, the UK’s first “Child House” pilot delivering coordinated support for children and young people in their recovery from sexual abuse or exploitation.
The event coincides with the publishing of our new ‘Children Matter: Children and Young People experience violence and abuse too’ report, identifying and exploring the need to provide specialist support for children and young people affected by violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Wales.
Children and young people experience abuse not as witnesses but are survivors in their own right. New data from our member services shows in 2018/2019, 4,263 children and young people are known to have accessed some form of specialist violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence support in Wales. From speaking to children and young people we found that they worry that they will be blamed, bullied or not taken seriously if they disclose abuse, meaning the actual numbers of young individuals suffering are likely to be far higher.
“I didn’t really have anyone because I wasn’t sure if I could trust anyone… I didn’t trust anyone with anything, like friends or anybody…”
– Child Survivor
Violence and abuse can result in wide-ranging and inter-generational consequences for children and young people including; suicidal thoughts, PTSD, nightmares, powerlessness, poor school performance and an increased likelihood of negative coping mechanisms such as heavy drinking or substance misuse. But with specialist support, these consequences can be mitigated.
Unfortunately, the current picture of specialist service provision is hugely varied across Wales.
- 33% of specialist services have just one children and young people’s member of staff providing full (19%) or part time (14%) support.
- In one organisation this part time provision equates to 5 hours a week. Just 5 hours to provide support to all the children and young people in that area.
- One service has no specialist children and young people staff in place at all.
When there are specialist service interventions and support available which are known to work, these must be prioritised for delivery to ensure no child is left alone and unsupported. Welsh Women’s Aid believes that we all have an obligation to protect and support children and young people and to ensure we take preventative action so that future generations can live free from abuse and violence.
 Statistics from our Annual Membership Report 2018-19 available here: https://welshwomensaid.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Annual-Membership-Report-2018-19-FINAL.pdf
 Statistics from our ‘Children Matter: Children and Young People experience violence and abuse too’ report available here: https://welshwomensaid.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Children-and-Young-People-participation-report-FINAL.pdf