A programme for children affected by domestic violence has been hailed a huge success in South Tyneside and has now been rolled out across other parts in the region thanks to new funding secured.

The Safe Hands programme is delivered by charity Impact Family Services in South Tyneside. Funded by the BIG Lottery, Safe Hands is for children that are affected by living in a household where there has been domestic abuse. Most of the junior attendees Mother’s are in the charity’s Options Advocacy Service, which offers support and advice for women affected by Domestic Violence.

So far 35 children have been helped by Safe Hands and the charity is swiftly building on this.

And now, with funding secured from Northumbria Police, the partnership has been rolled out to Sunderland, Newcastle and Northumberland too. The funding has been received as part of a wider scheme for Impact Family Services to run Domestic Violence perpetrator programmes across the forces area in conjunction with Barnardos.

In the new areas, Safe Hands is working with children aged between 5 and 11 whose father figure has been referred to one of the partnerships Domestic Violence Perpetrator programmes.

Safe Hands supports children affected by DV as part of the holistic family approach to tackling domestic abuse and the impact it has on individual family members. Through the partnership the aim is to work towards the safety and protection of children and vulnerable adults.

The children are encouraged to talk about their situation and most recently they have been expressing themselves through art, creating pictures and adding into the safe hands tree of life, which shows them how many other children are in their situation too.

Hazel Hedley, CEO of Impact said:

“The aim of these programs is protection and safeguarding. Our trained professional create a culture of safe working practice. Whilst they sound quite chilled, with artwork and team bonding, the children always know they have somewhere to turn and with our reporting system, they are in a safer place.

“They have witnessed domestic abuse and violence but they can see a safer and brighter future. Through services for men, women and children we are tackling the issue of Domestic Violence to improve life for the whole family affected.”

More information is available by contacting Impact Family Services on 0191 567 8282.

Following the completion of the safe hands programme parents are requested to complete a feedback form. These are some of the responses we received:

Do you think some issues have been resolved or improved?’:

“Yes, (my child) deals with some situations much better than before, understands more about secrets and lying so not to get someone else in trouble”
“My child ‘is more confident in herself”
“My daughter ‘is more aware of things and behavior has improved a little”

Is there anything else you would like to say about the service?

“Shelley and Simon are great listeners and always let me know what was covered in each session. I felt at ease speaking to them and in seeking their advice on (my child’s) lying. Which they implemented into sessions with secrets – good secrets and bad secrets which has made her realise what they are and when they are not what action to take. This alone has had a major impact on her behaviour and helped me so much. Thanks to both of you”
“Appreciate everything you have both done for her. She is more confident and happier within herself”

Media Contact:

Antonia at Get Brindled on 07702214391. Antonia@getbrindled.com