Training (Youth Team)

Our Youth team are available to provide training in many areas related to working with children, young people and families.

Children and young people do not need to see an abusive incident taking place for abuse to have an impact. They may overhear the incident or see the aftermath.

However they experience it, domestic abuse in the family home has a huge impact on the children.

Understanding the Effects of Domestic Abuse on Children and Young People

This course is available regularly (please see the Training Dates article within the newsletter) and includes the following

  • Improves understanding of the effects of domestic abuse on children and young people.
  • Considers the impact on children of various ages.
  • Examines the ways in which domestic abuse impacts on parenting characteristics.
  • Explores the roles and characteristics of children living with domestic abuse.
  • Looks at abusive teenage relationships.
  • Understanding Adolescent to Parent Abuse (APA).

Phoenix DAS Youth Team can also offer a range of bespoke packages to any group, organisation or service. We will work closely with you to design, develop and deliver workshops/training events tailored to your individual needs.

My Story of Discovery and Recovery

Hello. I’d like to tell you about my experience of domestic abuse. I still don’t think it’s properly understood and I’m sure there are lots of men and women going through similar experiences.

One thing I want to get across is that it can happen to anyone, age, education, career, religion, gender, rich or poor, domestic abuse has no boundaries.

I work for Gwent Police. Ironic, isn’t it? You wouldn’t think that someone who works for the police would fall prey to domestic abuse, but that’s just it. It can happen to anyone. And for people in professional occupations it can be easy to mask the reality.

I knew early on that my other half was a bully, but by then it was already too late, I was caught in the circle of abuse. And because of having a job and a mortgage and so on, I didn’t think I would be entitled to any housing or whatever to help me leave. Working for the police didn’t help either. I was being subjected to emotional and psychological abuse – no physical violence, no injuries to show anyone. And I knew my partner only equated physical abuse as domestic abuse, there was no understanding of the emotional, controlling manipulation as being abusive. When we were (rarely) in company, he put on a very good show that we had a loving, perfect relationship. So who was going to believe me that I felt trapped and no control in my life? I did speak to certain supervisors, I was given counselling, I was put on anti-depressants by my GP. When I told my partner I had been prescribed anti-depressants, the response was “I don’t want you on tablets. You can manage without them”.

I put up with it for years. Then I hit my personal rock bottom. I needed to get that low to realise I needed help. And although I had acknowledged that I was a victim of domestic abuse to myself, I had never uttered those words to another person, because I knew once they were said they couldn’t be taken back. It wouldn’t be my secret any more. Realistically, my colleagues had known what was going on, but didn’t signpost me to anyone to get support. So, at my rock bottom, I was talking to a professional. I was describing what my life was like, and I heard myself say “It’s domestic abuse. I know it is.” That person did the best thing they could ever have done. They told me about Phoenix DAS, but there was no pressure to do anything. There was no reflex reaction to get me out of the situation. What sold it to me was how they said I could go to Phoenix DAS and get some support, whether it was to help me cope with the current situation or if I wanted to make any changes. I agreed for them for make a referral and within a very short space of time I was talking to my support worker. Again, there was no pressure to do anything, we had a conversation, I was asked lots of questions, which ultimately led me to the conclusion that I needed to get out.

I told my work colleagues and supervisors what was going on, that I was planning on moving out and things might get messy. I couldn’t have asked for better support at this point. I was also told about the new legislation that had come into effect, controlling and coercive behaviour. Legislation that was perfect to deal with what I had been putting up with for years. I chose not to make a complaint under the legislation, partly because of my job, but mostly because I thought it would make a bad situation even worse. However, the legislation is effective and if you recognise that you are being controlled and manipulated, I would urge you to speak to someone you trust and report it to the police. In terms of Gwent Police, when I needed the help and support, it was there, and still is. The organisation is getting better at dealing with domestic abuse in all its forms.

Phoenix DAS helped me through the process. I joined the Dignity program. I stayed with the program until I was strong enough to manage on my own. I have “graduated” now. It has been hard and there are many challenges still ahead, but I know I can deal with them. On my own. With Phoenix as a safety net if I have a wobble. Despite it being the worst time of my life, it has turned out to be the best. I am far happier, without a doubt I made the right decision.

Meet Sam

 

Sam joined the service in 2016 as a part time Programme Officer and originally co-facilitated programmes to adult victims of domestic abuse on a weekly basis. The role was developed as part of a research project aiming to test the impact of a co – gendered facilitation team on outcomes from victims.  Sam quickly became a key member of the team and his role was expanded to full time with the additional role of Youth Respect Officer being added. This role involves working with young people (11-18) who are displaying abusive and controlling behaviours towards their parents and/or intimate partners. Sessions are usually conducted on a 1-1 basis but Sam also co-facilitates a Youth Respect Group for some of the young people. Prior to joining the service Sam has gained experience in both facilitation and youth work from various roles. Sam is currently a member of the Gwent (Ask and Act) Regional Training Consortia and has a Degree in Youth and Community Work.

Focus Groups

On Wednesday 7th March 2018 we invited current and past service users to focus groups at Phoenix House to obtain feedback on our services. Service users also discussed gaps in services which could potentially help to shape the future direction of our work here at Phoenix DAS.

We would like to thank everyone that took the time to contribute to these focus groups. If you would like to get involved in providing feedback on our services please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Meet Charlotte

Charlotte joined the service in August 2016 and has taken the role of Youth Respect Officer. Charlotte works with young people (11-18) who are displaying abusive and controlling behaviours towards their parents and/or intimate partners. Sessions are usually conducted on a 1-1 basis but Charlotte also co-facilitates a Youth Respect Group for some of the young people. Prior to joining the service Charlotte has gained experience from various roles including domestic abuse youth worker, detached youth worker and working with homelessness and mental health. Charlotte has gained experience of creating and delivering programmes for young people that have been victims of domestic abuse and dealing with Trauma. Charlotte is currently a trustee and youth lead for a newly established charity “Bags of Hope” which aim to provide support for young people experiencing the care system. Charlotte is also a qualified youth worker.

 

LGBT History Month

This month is LGBT History month and staff from Phoenix Domestic Abuse Services will be attending an event to recognise and celebrate the LGBT History. The event will take place at Coleg Gwent on Monday the 26th February between 11.00am and 2.00pm.

Here at Phoenix Domestic Abuse Services we recognise that domestic abuse can affect anyone regardless of gender or sexuality and we are proud to support people from all types of relationships.

Meet Linzi

Linzi joined the service in 2009 and took the role of Youth Support Officer supporting young people who had witnessed domestic abuse. For the last two years Linzi has been in the role of Youth Intervention Manager. This role has involved the development and management of the Youth Team which comprises of the innovative Youth Respect Project that provides early intervention where young people are displaying abusive behaviours as well as the Youth IDVA.

Linzi provides the Youth IDVA support which directly supports young victims (11-18 years) of domestic abuse and aims to reduce current and future risk. This role allows young people the time, space and expertise to explore their understanding of abusive behaviours and guidance to consider healthy choices.

Before joining the service Linzi worked for 3 years in the youth justice system and is a qualified youth worker, IDVA, ISVA and Youth IDVA.  Linzi has also completed the gender based violence service managers qualification provided by ‘Safe Lives’.

 

Youth Team Case Study

Josh is 11 years old and was referred to the Youth Team in January 2017 by Families First. The referral stated that Josh was displaying aggressive behaviour at home and appeared to be targeting his aggression towards his mother and sister.

Josh’s mother, Sarah  reported that he would ‘lose it’ when angry and she was struggling to cope, had to physically restrain him at times and admitted that she was afraid to be alone with him at times. Josh was receiving a high level of detentions at school and was also on the waiting list to see the education psychologist.  Sarah was also concerned about the impact on his sister and also his younger brother witnessing his aggressive behaviour.

During the initial assessment with staff, Sarah was reluctant to discuss any negative behaviour in case Josh became angry and upset with her. Josh also did not make any eye contact with worker during initial session.

During the course of the support Josh received 6 1-2-1 sessions and he attended Youth Respect Group Sessions alongside. During this time, Josh and his worker discussed the concept of domestic abuse, identified his emotions and behaviours, explored his core beliefs and his expectations. Josh reported utilising ‘low-level’ self-harm which was discussed in depth with his worker.

During this work it was revealed that Josh was in fact a victim of school bullying which had resulted in him ‘seeking’ detentions in order to avoid the school walk home.

Sarah also received support from our parenting officer. As the main target of Josh’s abuse she felt conflicting emotions at times. Over 7 1-2-1 sessions plus family meetings, our Parenting Officer explored Sarah’s own experiences of abuse, her feelings of guilt, frustrations and anger. Our parenting officer also provided support sessions to Josh’s step-father in order for the home to ‘work together’ to support everyone.

Josh’s sister also received support from the Youth IDVA. This work included safety planning and emotional support.

Throughout the support, family members received 1-2-1 sessions, three family meeting to explore and build on positive relationships, Josh attended group sessions, and a residential event with other young people. Phoenix DAS staff also advocated for family members at multi-agency meetings.

At point of closure, all family member’s reported that the abusive behaviour had stopped and that positive improvements had been made in the family home. Feedback from Josh stated that he felt the work had improved communication between him and his mother, that he was now aware of the impact his actions had on others, and that he felt he could trust his support worker.

In respect of Sarah, work with the parenting officer appeared to increase the confidence in her parenting skills and this enhanced the relationship with all of her children. Mother reported on case closure that the most helpful part of the intervention for her was “being able to talk to someone who listened and did not judge me but offered appropriate advice”

*All names have been changed to protect confidentiality*

Liberty Care LTD

At Phoenix DAS we recognise and appreciate the support that some employers offer their staff in relation to domestic abuse. Recently we have supported a victim of domestic abuse who works for Liberty Care LTD (Commercial House, Commercial Street, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood NP12 2JY).

This employer provided excellent support to our client both in the workplace and by allowing her time to attend our victim support groups helping her to recover after this traumatic period in her life. Not all employers recognise how crucial their support is in helping individuals to move forward in their personal lives and within their workplace. We have personally thanked Liberty Care LTD staff involved in this case and we are pleased that they have also used internal processes to recognise those involved.

Thank you Liberty Care LTD for supporting us in working to create a society free from all forms of domestic abuse and its consequences