This is a Free Your Mind mental health awareness campaign, in support of the many children and young people, that witness and experience domestic violence in their family homes.
This campaign comes after seeing many past and recent reports on Domestic Violence, rightly focused on the direct victim (the parent/person) but in most cases without reference to any children involved, the silent victims who have no say in any matter, but at the same time have to live day in day out with the terror, trauma, sadness, danger and anxiety of living in a household where domestic violence occurs.
1 in 3 Children will have a mental illness which is directly linked to the experience of seeing Domestic Violence in their homes.
1.8 million children across the UK are affected.
In 75% to 90% of incidents of domestic violence, children are in the same or the next room. (Hughes, 1992; Abrahams, 1994).
Natasha Benjamin Founder of Free Your Mind CIC, due to her personal experience of this and what she sees being missed by campaigns and support services today, feels passionately that this is something that needs to be brought to the forefront.
‘Due to my terrifying experience of domestic violence as a child, I grew up, with a very complex way of seeing the world, I did not know how to speak up for myself because I was told to keep quiet, I grew up with a quiet burning anger and being very protective of my mom because I was used to having to fight to protect her, I grew up knowing drama, dysfunction and was always on a permanent ‘high alert’ that something bad was about to happen. All this had a major impact on the way I lived my life as I grew older especially because I’d never addressed any of it, I’d never received any help as a child or support to ask if I was ok and how it all affected me. I actually spent most of my adult life up until a few years ago thinking that it hadn’t affected me at all and that I’d got out unscathed.
Little did I know, I was a ticking time bomb headed for a major breakdown, the child is often the forgotten silent victim in these situations. I see many campaigns rushing to the aid of the parent which is fine and very much needed, but how it has mentally affected the child is rarely looked at and made priority.
Doing this would resolve and reduce so many social issues that we have today, those children need support, those children need a voice before it’s too late and I will make it my personal priority to make sure this happens’
Aims & Objectives
The child of Domestic Violence campaign brings this issue to the forefront and its purpose is to ensure that children’s experiences and voices are heard, and that protection services make it priority to ensure that children who witness Domestic Violence mental health and psychological well being is taken care of, the effects of witnessing such at a young age can have devastating effects.
This campaign is letting the children of domestic violence know that they are just as important, this isn’t the life they choose but it is all that they know at the time. It is important they know it isn’t there fault and that there is more to life.
Many children who are exposed to domestic violence major mental health problems and social problems in their lives and we are here to drive a campaign to support them.
Do you know how helpless it feels to be a child of Domestic Violence?
It leaves you feeling helpless, scared, anxious, and angry and so many more things. Witnessing Domestic Violence as a child can have devastating effects on their future resulting, creating social problems, developmental, self esteem and mental health issues.
The majority of children witness the violence that is occurring, and in 90% of cases they are in the same or next room (Hughes, 1992)
All children witnessing domestic violence are being emotionally abused.
Sign up to register your interest for our 2016 accredited Childhood Domestic Violence training by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can you help?
Are you a child of Domestic Violence? Can you help us by sharing your story either in writing or joining our video campaign and telling your story to camera (we can hide your identity if necessary)?
We ask everyone to be mindful to offer your help and support and show kindness.
Protection services: Ensure that, when looking at the welfare of a parent that has been the victim of domestic violence that the child’s well being and mental health is taken care of.
Schools: Be mindful, be open minded look out for signs that there may be more to a child’s destructive behaviour and anger issues.
It takes a whole community to raise a child, do not ignore what you see because it doesn’t directly affect you!