West Berkshire Council

New funding provides unique support for Domestic Abuse victims

West Berkshire's Domestic Abuse Service is using grant cash to provide special support to children who have experienced Domestic Abuse.

Man playing with child

Issued on: 1 March 2017

West Berkshire Council has been awarded £72,874.06 by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as part of their Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy which includes a £20 million grant scheme to protect and support victims of Domestic Abuse on a local level.

The money will be used to deliver a one year project, employing three people including a Play Therapist and full time practitioner to work directly with children and families in four refuges in West Berkshire and Oxfordshire.

Play Therapy is a form of psychological support for children that uses play and creative mediums to explore confusing or difficult feelings and doesn't rely on the child's ability to talk about things that they find difficult. Therefore, it provides a unique support in the crucial early stages of their lives to help prevent issues manifesting and worsening in later life.  It will teach parents how to use valuable play therapy skills with their children to strengthen the parent-child bond to improve outcomes for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The project will provide a cross border resource in order to help as many children as possible and because, for safety reasons, West Berkshire children are often placed in Oxfordshire refuges.

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth on behalf of the DCLG said, "Domestic abuse is a devastating crime. Each local area needs to play its part in tackling and preventing domestic abuse and I am confident that West Berkshire's proposal will make a significant contribution. Much domestic abuse is hidden and many victims need to flee from their local area to access services and stay safe. Real change can only happen at local level and that is why their bid is so important."

 Marcus Franks, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Community Resilience and Partnerships said, "Domestic Abuse is a largely hidden crime that can have a profoundly damaging effect on adults but also in children who are unable to speak out and articulate the distress and fear they are feeling. We are delighted with this support from DCLG.  It is vital that we are able to provide psychological support for children at a crucial early stage of their lives. Play Therapy is a recognised way of ensuring that they receive the right kind of help at the right time, which can reduce the likelihood of mental health difficulties developing in their later lives."