Barnardo’s Cymru to continue its whole family approach to tackling domestic abuse

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has welcomed the Home Office’s announcement that Barnardo’s Cymru is to receive additional funding to continue its whole family approach to tackling domestic abuse.

A grant of £640,000 will fund the Opening Closed Doors project for the next 12 months, which has supported 261 families since it began last March with £950,000 of Home Office funding. The money will allow it to be able to continue to operate in Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Monmouthshire.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “This is great news and will help one of our key partners, Barnardo’s, as it continues to work effortlessly in offering advice and support to keep victims safe.

“Since the pilot began, the project has supported 261 families allowing both parent and child victims to receive trauma informed support. Its flagship work is helping perpetrators of domestic abuse access a programme which is designed to change behaviour, rebuild relationships and keep families safe. This is undoubtable a good thing.

“The national lockdown means that incidents of domestic violence will inevitably increase and it is paramount we do everything we can to tackle this. Funding such as this is essential in achieving this and I would urge anyone experiencing it not to suffer in silence, but to speak out.”

The Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University recently published a report into the service. It said there was a very high level of demand and that it had a “very promising positive impact” on children and families.

Homes were now safer and there were striking improvements in children’s emotional health and wellbeing. Many families were progressing in their journey of recovery from domestic abuse and were making sustainable change in their behaviours.

Deputy Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: “Domestic abuse does not discriminate - anyone can be a victim regardless of age, gender, sexuality or social background. It is not always a crime that is clearly visible, it can be hidden, so we all need to look out for and help those struggling.

“At this time, when we are all being asked to stay at home to save lives, we know that home is not a sanctuary for everyone so it’s important that we all work together to help those in need.

 

“Projects such as the opening Closed Doors project are key to our success in protecting our most vulnerable residents and ensuring that there are support services there for people who need it the most.

 

“By working with our partners in the public and third sector, we can make a difference in the lives of those living with domestic abuse.”

The Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University report into the Opening Closed Doors project praised support workers for their high level of commitment, motivation and skill. By building relationships with family members they could have open and honest conversations and be both supportive and challenging when needed, said the report.

Sarah Crawley, Director of Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “Domestic abuse is an epidemic with devastating effects on children and their families. It leaves families in a state of trauma, with significant impact on their emotional and mental health.

“We are very concerned about the rising levels of domestic abuse since lockdown so this announcement is particularly well timed.”