Bromley & Croydon Women’s Aid (BCWA) has been commissioned to provide a specialist service to help keep young people safe from domestic abuse.
The service, for six- to 12-year-olds, will be offered to the children of those participating in the borough’s perpetrator programme, Drive.
Croydon is the only London council to pilot Drive – an intensive intervention plan that aims to ensure the safety of survivors and their families by reducing and preventing high-harm perpetrators of domestic abuse reoffending.
The council and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) commissioned the service, with Home Office funding.
A BCWA children’s support officer will offer up to 12 one-to-one sessions to help improve the children’s understanding of who they can trust and talk to about what they are experiencing at home, and who to contact – inside and outside of the family – if they are feeling unsafe.
The sessions will also look at improving the children’s wellbeing by reducing their stress, increasing their self-esteem and improving their physical and mental
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for safer Croydon and communities
“Tackling domestic abuse is a priority in Croydon – we know that one in four perpetrators of domestic abuse are repeat offenders and can have up to six known victims.*
“Drive aims to achieve a lasting change in offenders’ behaviour. Its work is also another way to help ensure the safety of survivors and their families. Too often there isn’t enough support available to children affected by domestic abuse – so this additional support is really important.”
Croydon’s Drive programme is now in its second year and is currently supporting 92 people to help change their abusive lifestyles.
Drive case managers’ work on a one-to-one basis to challenge perpetrators to recognise the impact their abuse is having on their victims and children. The managers also support them to change their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours.
The Drive team also works closely with the police to help stop the abuse, and other agencies to address needs such as mental health, substance abuse and housing.
One service user, who has complex needs, has been seeing a case manager since last December, and is benefitting. “I could have done things differently,” he said. “I’m trying to change my behaviour and am pleased to receive this support and the practical help – I’m not good at doing things online, such as housing applications.”
Another said: “Drive is going the extra mile to help me get on track.”