Almost one third of children in Doncaster are growing up in homes where they will witness or experience domestic abuse.
The figures have been released by the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, who have also revealed that approximately 189 children in the borough that are at risk or affected by domestic abuse are referred to children’s services every month.
In a bid to tackle the problem, the DCST has launched the Growing Futures project which aims to bring social services together with multiple facets of the borough’s workforce.
In the second of a series of features on domestic abuse in Doncaster, we talk to a Doncaster mum who has been assisted in her recovery by Growing Futures.
After witnessing violence between her parents growing up, Stacey*, vowed never to become involved with an abusive relationship.
But after falling pregnant, Stacey, now aged 21, discovered that her partner had a police record that he had not disclosed to her.
As a result Stacey experienced intervention from social workers throughout her pregnancy, and after the baby was born.
“I couldn’t go to be without tidying up the entire house, worrying that if I didn’t, they’d say he might be taken away,” said Stacey.
She added: “I don’t blame social services. They had to keep the baby safe, the father was a big risk.”
“He would stand outside threatening to burn mu house down. I had to pay him in beer to look after my son because he wouldn’t look after him while I went to work. He hit me in front of my son. I decided I had to do something, because I knew I couldn’t allow my son to grow up thinking this is the right way to treat women.”
At Changing Lives, which is one of the agencies involved in the project, Stacey completed courses and one-to-one therapies and is confident she will be able to get where she ‘needs to be’ through the project.
Central to the project is a team of domestic abuse navigators, whose roles were created last year after the Trust secured £3.1miliion in funding from the Department for Education.
Cheryl Henry-Leach, Growing Futures operations manager at Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, said: “Growing Futures works from the belief that people can change. While safety is the number one priority, this model allows us the freedom to tailor support according to specific needs, with a clear focus on children and young people.”