Women’s Aid in Northern Ireland has a long and successful history, exceeding thirty years, of meeting the needs of children and young people who experience domestic violence.
Over the years, service provision has developed to include working with children and young people, both in refuge and in the community. In recognition of a child or young person’s experience, Women’s Aid provides a range of age appropriate specialised services. Detailed information on services available is provided in Our Place – Safe Space: Directory of Children and Young People Services in Northern Ireland.
All our with children and young people work is based upon five fundamental principles:
- Domestic violence impacts negatively on children and young people as victims and witnesses.
- Children and young people have a right to safety and support services, which enable them to thrive and reach their full potential.
- By supporting mothers who have experienced domestic violence, children and young people are also supported.
- Children and young people have in built resilience, and with appropriate support and early intervention, this resilience can be nurtured and developed.
- Partnership working with other agencies is essential to ensure children and young people’s voices are heard and support is available.
Children and young people’s needs are responded to at all points of service delivery. Group work, with children and young people is a valuable element of support and a range of programmes has been developed to meet the needs of children and young people. Preventative education in schools and youth settings presents an early intervention for those who may currently be experiencing domestic violence and also those who may be at risk.
The development of service provision is grounded upon a wealth of expertise and is driven by the voices and experiences, of families who have experienced domestic violence and accessed support.
Women’s Aid is committed to the continuous improvement and development of children and young people’s services. We published Our Place – Safe Space: Strategy for Children and Young People which sets out how we will develop services for children and young people over a five year period (2012 – 2017).