Domestic Abuse Service Launched In Derry

The NSPCC in Derry have launched a new service to support children and parents living with domestic violence. The Domestic Abuse Recovery and Support service will help families recover from the effects of domestic violence.

Sharon Breslin, manager of the team said: “Children are often the forgotten victims of domestic violence. Children exposed to domestic abuse may suffer direct physical, sexual or emotional abuse which, without the proper support, can have long lasting consequences on their health and wellbeing. It can disrupt their normal social and psychological development, and may lead to severe anxiety and mental health problems such as depression and self-harm.”

The team in Foyle previously offered a generic family support service. However, in September 2006, as a result of an increased number of referrals where domestic abuse was a feature, a decision was made to redirect resources and dedicate the work of the team to helping children recover from the emotional impact of domestic abuse.

Last year 1,842 incidents of domestic violence and 689 offences were recorded by the PSNI in Foyle and, as a result, 338 local children were referred to social services for help.

Sharon Breslin continued: “We realised that domestic violence was an underlying factor in an increasing proportion of referrals to the family support service, even those which were not initially presented as domestic abuse cases. We also recognised that there were gaps in specific service provision for children and young people living with domestic abuse, so decided to develop a unique and worthwhile service for children.”

The new domestic abuse service is funded by the NSPCC, the Western Health and Social Care Trust, and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

If you have concerns about a child or young person, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.