A JOINT recovery programme developed with the Childline charity will help non-abusive parents and child victims in Gibraltar recover from the trauma of domestic violence.
Minister for Justice Samantha Sacramento said the new service will put into place a similar system to the UK in partnership with the Care Agency.
Many local UK authorities already use the evidence-based Domestic Abuse Recovery Together (DART) to allow children and parents to communicate and build up their relationships.
The new programme is part of the Domestic Abuse National Strategy.
As well as helping recreate trust, the programme will give children and parents the chance to meet others who have gone through similar experiences.
It comes after research by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) that proves how much domestic abuse hurts children long-term.
Shockingly, children abused in their earlier years are four time more likely to experience more abuse or be violent themselves when they have a family.
They also have greater risk of substance abuse, juvenile pregnancy and criminal behaviour than if they came from non-violent homes.
Each of these DART programmes take place over ten week cycles.
Children and parents meet for two hour sessions and then get into separate groups to work for on other activities.
Parents learn how abuse happens and how it affects children.
Children speak about their feelings and get an idea what could cause the abuse.
“Childline receives many contacts every year from frightened children living with domestic abuse across Gibraltar, and we know that it can cause serious harm to children’s emotional and physical well-being,” Childline CEO Caroline Carter said.
“We want all children, and their parents, who have suffered domestic abuse to have access to the right services to help keep them safe and recover from these traumatic experiences.”
Minister Sacramento said she found it ‘heartbreaking’ that ‘the mental scars’ of abuse can last a lifetime.
She said that ‘breaking the cycle’ of abuse was ‘crucial’ and she felt the government should ‘intervene early to give these children and young people a lifeline’.
“Government is absolutely committed to tackling the appalling crime of domestic abuse and we are determined that no one should suffer, least of all children,” Sacramento added.
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