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The Impact of Domestic Violence and Abuse on Children

In their words…

Posted on Monday 07 December 2020

Video release

Media release

“It’s a really bad feeling in our heart, it feels like it’s broken. Sometimes we feel it in our bodies too, and our bones start to hurt” Child 1

07 December 2020: Every year Barnardos works with hundreds of children impacted by domestic violence and abuse in their homes. To date their voices remain absent from the public debate and discussion. In collaboration with domestic abuse services around Ireland, Barnardos asked children to share, in their words, what domestic violence was to them.

“It gets louder and louder. They don’t think we can hear it but we can, even if we are in the last corner of the house” Child 2

“It is our job to protect our little brothers and sisters” Child 3

Reports from Barnardos projects across the country indicate a rising level of referrals to services this year related to domestic violence and abuse in the home. According to Suzanne Connolly, CEO Barnardos, “children are often forgotten when considering the impact of domestic violence in a home. We must hear the voices of children to make sure that we understand what living in a home with domestic violence and abuse is like for them. The trauma of living with domestic violence affects a child in many ways, in how they think, feel and behave. We must listen and support children to overcome these experiences.”


Barnardos provides support to children living with domestic violence across all our range of services including our early years and family support services; we work to prevent domestic abuse, support families through crisis and into recovery.


Speaking about this powerful video, Suzanne Connolly continued “this piece of work is a collaboration of domestic abuse services around Ireland that are part of a national children’s domestic abuse project led by Barnardos. The children’s words are a powerful reminder that they are seriously affected by domestic abuse. Their expertise must be recognised, and their voices heard.


“Barnardos is calling on Government to take the lead in 2021 and put plans in place which would support children through crises and prevent more children from experiencing domestic abuse. Government must listen to children’s voices and allow them to participate in the changes to systems and society needed to address domestic violence in a child centred way.”


“In 2021 Barnardos will be pushing for government to address this issue by giving children a voice to influence changes to systems and society needed to address domestic violence in a child centred way.”

Speaking about her participation in this project one young girl said, “Us 12 kids can make a difference, a big difference”


The aim of the children’s participation project is to give children their voice, have their experiences validated and their experience recognised. Barnardos, in collaboration with many services across the country, want to empower these children to influence and inform responses to domestic violence in the longer term.


To view the full video, please click here.

END

For further information please contact Barnardos Press Office
Tel: 01 7080442 / 086 0445966
Email: [email protected]

Notes to editor -

  • A recent survey conducted by Barnardos (September 2020) estimates that over a one week period 317 open cases that the charity worked with had been impacted by domestic violence and abuse in the home.
  • For this video, 12 children and young people from around Ireland who have experienced domestic violence and abuse, shared their words. The illustrations received input from the children and are created by an illustrator.
  • The members of the national children’s participation project to date are, Adapt Domestic Abuse Services in Limerick, Cuan Saor Women's Refuge & Support Services, EPIC Empowering People In Care, Meath Women's Refuge and Support Services and two Barnardos TLC KIDZ projects in North Tipperary and Limerick/Clare.
  • We hope to expand this project over the next 12 months to capture the voices of many more children around Ireland who have experienced domestic violence and abuse and who deserve to be heard.
  • For further information on Barnardos work on domestic violence and abuse please click here