Coram evaluated Welcare’s My Space, a project developed by Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) and delivered by Welcare in Bromley, London. The project worked with 7-11 year olds who had been identified as having behavioural and emotional problems and also had experienced domestic violence at home.
My Space aimed to create a ‘safe’ environment in which the children could share their experiences and learn how to appropriately express emotion. The My Space group provided an opportunity to process their psychological trauma through validation of their experiences, understanding abuse and reducing self blame.
The evaluation found that the children participants made significant progress in behavioural competencies and by the end of the course were showing signs of improved social relations outside of sessions. Reports from parents suggested that children seemed to feel more in control of their traumatic past experience and more able to express feelings appropriately and manage relationships.
Most children entered the course poorly equipped to express feelings and manage anger and held attitudes tolerant of domestic violence. By the end of the course a significant improvement in protective attitudes had been achieved in the following areas:
- The proportion of children who adopted a protective attitude towards the prevalence of domestic violence rose from 17% to 100%.
- A significant reduction in the number of children feeling responsible for ‘dad’s violence against mum’ and for children feeling mothers sometimes deserved to be hit.