West Mercia Women’s Aid
Consent Form Supporting Documents
Information for Parents
When your child is attending CYP support
When your child/ren are attending group or 1:1 support with CYP they may experience a range of thoughts and emotions, our support is child led and no child will ever be made to talk about or explore things they do not want to. However, our activities are designed to encourage exploration of their feelings, experiences of domestic abuse and relationships. This is important as it can help children to learn about their feelings and behaviours and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and how their experiences have impacted upon them.
You may notice changes in their behaviour and mood during and after accessing support, some things you may notice
- They may want to spend more time with you and seek physical closeness e.g cuddles
- They may want to spend more time on their own
- They may be cross with you
- They may ask more questions about what has happened
- They may appear to be trying out new behaviours
- Their behaviour may be challenging
- They may be tearful
This list is by no means exhaustive and please contact us if you would like to discuss any changes in behaviour
Children who live with Domestic Violence/Abuse may feel
- Powerless- because they can’t stop it
- Confused – because it doesn’t make sense
- Angry – because it shouldn’t be happening
- Guilty – because they think they’ve done something wrong
- Sad – because it’s a loss
- Afraid – because they or some they love may be hurt, they may lose someone they love, others may find out
- Alone – because they think it’s only happening to them
*this is not an exhaustive list and it is important not to narrow the range of emotions a child may feel, be open, explore and validate any emotion
We encourage talking openly with your children in an age appropriate way, also being mindful of those times when they do not want to talk. It can be helpful to let them know that time to themselves is ok but that you are there to listen and support them whenever they are ready. Sometimes observational statements or wondering out loud can be less intrusive than questions, e.g.
- You look like you’ve had a tiring day
- I was thinking about you today when you were …..
- I wonder if that made you feel like ….
The benefits of talking to children about violence/abuse
- Children feel safer
- They learn that the violence/abuse isn’t their fault
- They learn that violence/abuse is not an acceptable way to solve problems
- It helps them to feel seen and cared for
- They learn it’s ok to talk about feelings
What Children need to hear about the violence / abuse
- It’s not okay
- It’s not your fault
- It must be scary for you
- I will listen to you
- You can tell me how you feel; it is important
- I’m sorry you had to see/hear it
- You do not deserve to have this in your family
- I will help you to stay safe
- There is nothing you could have done to prevent/change it
- We can talk about what to do to increase your safety if it happens again. (For example, staying in your room, going to neighbours, etc.)
- You are an individual and can choose not to fight or hurt people.
How to talk about an abusive ex-partner:
- Speak about your “ex” in a general way
- Try to avoid “name calling” Challenge behaviour not the person
- Your child may still love the abusive parent and may be confused by feeling this way. This could be hard for you too but it will really help your child if she/he is able to express these feelings.
Ideas for helping children when they’ve witnessed domestic violence / abuse:
- Talk about it with them when they are ready
- Listen to them – talk about their feelings whatever they may be. Validate any feelings that they share and let them know you will try to keep them safe/act in a way that is safe.
- Let them know the violence is not okay
- Acknowledge it’s hard/scary for them
- Accept that they may not be willing or able to talk about it right away
- Always act in a way that is non-threatening and non-violent with your kids
- Let them be children and try to share your own worries with another adult
- Set limits respectfully if your child behaves in a violent or abusive way
Please contact you child’s CYP worker if you have any concerns or would like to discuss the support they are receiving.
Children and Young people’s Worker Protocol for Face to Face Delivery
This aims to list the steps we will be taking as workers to reduce the possible spread of viruses and increase the safety of all. This will be regularly reviewed in line with government guidance and experience.
If you would like to see a copy of our Risk Assessment please request a copy from your worker.
- We ask that food is not brought to sessions and that those attending bring only a named drink with water or squash.
- Everyone will be asked to wash their hands on arrival and departure, and – where possible – to use the toilet pre and post sessions.
- CYP Workers will be taking extra precautions with personal hygiene, regularly washing their hands with hot water and soap, regular use of hand sanitising products.
- Cleaning of all touch points before and after sessions, and more frequent cleaning throughout and at the end of the day.
- Physical distancing will be maintained where possible, where distancing cannot be maintained a face mask will be worn and other risk reduction measures like opening windows. Where possible workers will try to sit alongside children and young people to avoid direct face to face contact.
- CYP Workers will use well ventilated and spacious rooms where possible.
- CYP workers will be alert to the symptoms of COVID19 and all isolation and guidance procedures necessary. CYP workers will not attend any sessions if they are displaying symptoms.
- CYP Workers will minimise the use of items in sessions, Children and Young People will be provided with individual items and where this is not possible items will be isolated for a minimum of 72hrs between sessions. For shared group resources, each group will have their own resources and regular hand washing/sanitising will take place in addition to isolation between each group session.
- For sessions taking place at our offices we have reduced the amount of people present, please follow signage and respect physical distancing.
- Group sizes have been reduced to allow for physical distancing.
What to expect when seeing your CYP worker
It is important that any face to face contact is carried out in the safest way possible. This might be in your 1:1 sessions or in your groups. Some of the changes may feel difficult or strange or you may be getting used to a lot of these changes already. While this means we have to do them, it doesn’t mean we can’t try and make it fun. Here’s what to expect
Groups will be smaller with 2 workers in each. We may sit you further away from each other than usual (If you come with your brother/sister you can sit closer to them as you are part of the same family.)
Hand gel / hand washing
At the beginning and end of every group or session your worker will ask you to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. We may also ask you to use hand gel when touching pens, papers etc. Your worker will also be doing this lots too.
Snacks, drinks and lunch
Please bring your own drink bottle with you to groups or session as we will not be able to provide you with a drink. You may bring a packed lunch (depending on the time of the session/group) and/or a healthy snack. But please no sharing.
It is very natural to feel unsure or worried when things change or feel unknown around us. While your worker is not a ‘health worker’, they are here to support you in exploring any feelings you may have. You always have a right to express how you feel.
Rules in group/session
The government has set us rules and restrictions to increase safety. It is not necessary to wear a face covering but you may do so if you wish. We need to remember to keep our distance if we can, and wash our hands. Your worker may clean and wipe things down more than usual too. We will discuss all of this at the first session and how we can make this fun too. We may not have a break and sessions may be shorter, but you can still use the toilets and speak privately to a worker if you need to.
Remember: We can still have fun!!!