Bringing children into Refuge can be very daunting for the whole family, Mothers/ Fathers often worry about how children will cope with the changes, you may feel guilty about taking your child/children away from their home, family, friends, school and all that is familiar to them. However, it is our experience that children settle very well and quickly into refuge life.
At SAHWR we aim to support children who have lived in homes where domestic abuse has occurred. Our dedicated children’s worker works with both Mum/Dad and children to support them in every area of life, with the aim of making the transition into and out of refuge as easy as possible. When a family comes into the refuge it is part the role of the child support worker to meet with the Parent and carry out an assessment of the children’s needs; This looks at all areas of the child’s physical, social, psychological emotional and educational development.
The Child Support Worker works closely with pre-schools, nursery and local educational settings ensuring children are found places as quickly as possible. It is our experience that supporting children into school helps to establish routine, some security and normality when everything around them may feel chaotic. Safety is a priority, but some children can remain in their previous schools if it safe to do so.
During a child’s stay in refuge there are regular activities available for children of all ages such as play sessions. There is also childcare available whilst the Parent meets with their keyworkers or attend appointments. There are days out and activities during holidays and half-terms, such as beach trips, trips to the park, cinema, baking, bowling, trampolining, visiting the farm and children’s centres.
There is support provided around preparing children for moving out of refuge, resettlement work is often carried out with the children, providing them with consistency and a familiar face. This will often entail moving schools and building their local support network.