Child domestic violence charity in £2m award

A five-year project helping children and young people in Wales exposed to domestic violence and abuse has been awarded £2m by the Big Lottery Fund.

It is the largest single award by the fund to this age group in Wales.

Charity Calan DVS will pilot the intervention project across Neath Port Talbot and Powys.

As well as working with children, it will help youngsters in abusive relationships and who demonstrate abusive and controlling behaviour.

Domestic abuse has been the highest factor in referrals to children’s services in Wales over the last three years.

Welsh government figures reveal a year-on-year increase in this area, with the latest figures showing that 23% of referrals to children’s services involved domestic abuse as a factor.

Rhian Bowen-Davies, chief executive of the charity, said they were delighted to have been given this “ground-breaking opportunity” to design and deliver the programme.

She said the two very distinct pilot areas of Neath Port Talbot and Powys were chosen for the diversity of challenges they present.

A former police officer and domestic violence advisor, Ms Bowen-Davies said she hoped the charity would be able to draw on experiences across the UK and further afield to develop a effective, repeatable intervention.

Ms Bowen-Davies said: “The wellbeing and safety of these young people is paramount.

“We will also be seeking to break the intergenerational cycle of domestic abuse.”

The project’s success will be determined by a committed multi-agency and partnership approach in the community, she added.

According to the most recent NSPCC figures, 12% of children under 11, 18% of 11 to 17-year-old and 24% of 18 to 24-year-olds in the UK have been exposed to domestic abuse between adults in their homes.

Adult men were the perpetrators in 94% of cases, where one parent had physically abused the other.

Local government minister Lesley Griffiths, whose portfolio also includes responsibility for tackling domestic abuse, welcomed the award, saying children were often the “silent victims” of the violence.

She said: “Domestic abuse is a terrible crime which affects not only the victim, but whole families. Any support for children affected by the domestic abuse of a parent is therefore very welcome.”