Childhood trauma expert and author Jane Evans is collaborating with leading clinical psychologist Dr Asha Patel of Innovating Minds to offer a globally available programme to help children impacted by domestic abuse and or violence, particularly during the Covid19 pandemic.
Both experts in their own fields, they have come together as they recognise that incidents of domestic violence and abuse have risen dramatically during lockdown. The United Nations has called domestic abuse the 'shadow pandemic' as it estimates incidents globally have increased by at least 20 per cent.
Researchers at the Counting Dead Women Project have told UK MPs that 14 women and two children were killed in the first three weeks of lockdown. The figure is the largest number of killings in a three-week period for 11 years and more than double the average rate.
Innovating Minds is a multi award-winning social enterprise which invests surplus funds into supporting children who have witnessed domestic abuse. Jane and Asha are combining their expertise to provide support for children around the world.
Jane, who is based in Wiltshire, is known internationally for her work with parents and children. She is also the author of a number of books which help adults explore and discuss difficult issues with children including one on domestic abuse called How Are You Feeling Today Baby Bear?
She said: "Domestic abuse is terrible for a child at any time. However with lockdown and children 'disappearing' and mostly being at home, the NSPCC has revealed that 'contacts to our helpline about the impact of domestic abuse on children have increased by 32 per cent since the start of the lockdown, to an average of one an hour'. This is why we are acting now as we believe there's a storm to come. For some children, school is a safe space for them and that safe space has been taken away."
Asha, who is based in Birmingham, said: "Healthcare workers, schools and social workers are preparing themselves to cope with a tsunami of referrals to statutory mental health services. This will have an effect on waiting lists so it is important now, more than ever, that we upskill schools, social workers, early help workers and community organisations to deliver support to children impacted by domestic abuse. Early intervention is crucial to a child's emotional wellbeing and education."
Dr Patel and Jane Evans have worked together to create The Healing Together Facilitator Programme. It is aimed at those who work with children at both primary and secondary schools or in other community settings. It will help individuals become trauma aware and give them the skills and understanding to help children who have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse and violence.
Asha said: "This course will enable children to access therapeutic help from people they trust, in a space where they feel safe. This is a unique programme as every aspect (videos, worksheets, training) has been developed through a trauma-informed lens. Experience has shown us at Innovating Minds that this is the best strategy, as children need to connect with their bodies and feelings to aid their journey to recovery."
Jane said: "We need to help begin to give children and young people insights into ways to feel calmer and safer in their own bodies and brains. As this can't happen when they are living with daily uncertainties, threats and abuse, adults in children's daily lives, at school and in the community, need to understand that certain behaviours can be manifested by children who are traumatised - they must NOT be simply seen as 'really naughty' or ‘unmanageable'. Children need to feel safe and supported. We hope to teach these skills to those who work with children and who care about the adults they will become."
Jane and Asha will be running a free webinar on Wednesday 24 June at 11am for all those in the UK and around the world who are interested in become Healing Together Practitioners.
For more details visit shorturl.at/egjS5
A picture of Jane Evans is above. Her book book How Are You Feeling Today Baby Bear? can be found here.
More details about the Healing Together programme can be found here.
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