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Resource to help kids in domestic abuse danger

New project looks to enable frontline practitioners achieve best outcomes for children

CAMPAIGNER against domestic abuse Luke Harte has described a new resource launched in County Clare as a crucial step towards giving all children the best chance in life.
The information resource for frontline practitioners ‘Listen, Hear, Act’ is aimed at providing enhanced awareness and understanding of children living with domestic abuse was launched on UN International Day of the Child in county Clare.
The resource provides insight on how children don’t just witness domestic violence as passive bystanders, but see it, hear it and feel it.
An in-depth project, it has been undertaken jointly by The Clare Local Area Network Opposing Violence Against Women (CLAN) and has been funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.
The project also provides information on how to identify the signs of domestic abuse in children, as well as a roadmap on how to access suitable services to help these children.
Last year (2020), as many as 5,948 incidents of child abuse related to domestic abuse was disclosed to Women’s Aid.
In County Clare, as many as 111 children and young people presented to Clare Haven Services with their mother during the first seven months of this year.
In more than 40% of cases, children who live with domestic abuse are also frequently directly abused, physically or sexually.
Living with domestic abuse impacts on how these children and you people engage with the world around them, how they learn and develop, how they relate to others, and ultimately how they navigate through their lives.  
Speaking at the online launch of Listen, Hear, Act, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman said the new resource will help those on the frontline recognise and support these children.
“I am privileged to launch this very important resource for children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.
“This resource pack will enable practitioners working with children and young people to support them in these situations to achieve the best possible outcomes,” he said.
Special guest Mr Harte, who lived through childhood abuse and co-founded the charity CoCoAwareness following the death of his mother and sister, travelled to Ennis to support the launch.
He said, “Our society is beginning to recognise that children suffer broad developmental challenges from living with domestic abuse, regardless of whether any ‘incidents’ were ‘witnessed’.
“Additionally, it is increasingly recognised that the costs to our society and to these children is vastly greater than any interventions to stop domestic abuse might be.
“We all lose by not providing children with a developmental environment in which they can flourish and become healthy, productive, and actualised adults,” he added
Chairperson of CLAN and Domestic Violence Liaison Sergeant, Ennis Station, Sgt Catriona Holohan said, “It is hoped that through this resource pack, practitioners will not only develop an enhanced knowledge and understanding of domestic abuse but see it through the eyes of a child or young person.
“It looks at how to respond to and support that child or young person and where to go for further support when required.
“The purpose of this document, therefore, is to act as a roadmap in assisting people working with children, young people and their families and to signpost them to appropriate support services and resources available in Co. Clare.”
Clare PPFS Senior Child and Family Support Network Coordinator Aisling Mulhall explained, “Due to the complex nature of Domestic Abuse, no single agency or institution can successfully tackle such abuse on its own and isolated policies are not sufficient in responding to such a complex and multi-faceted challenge.
“Good practice examples show that results are enhanced when law enforcement authorities, the judiciary, victim support services, child protection agencies, non-governmental organisations and other relevant partners join forces to develop child-centred and co-ordinated responses to combating the trauma of experiencing Domestic Abuse in childhood.”
Congratulating CLAN on the production of this wonderful collaborative resource, Bernard Gloster, Tusla chief executive said, “A multi-agency approach, providing clear and accessible information is central to supporting victims and people at risk of domestic violence.
“It is so important that we as professional services and organisations, whether we’re working in the statutory or non-governmental sector, that we ensure our practice and approach is informed by the lived experience of young people who have been affected by domestic abuse.”

Listen, Hear, Act is available at www.clarehaven.ie. This is CLAN’s second publication. On December 14, 2020 first County Clare Domestic Abuse Resource Pack was launched at Ennis Courthouse.

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