The Police and Crime Commissioner of Cheshire is rolling out a countywide programme dedicated to protecting young children from the effects of domestic abuse.
Commissioner David Keane has committed £30,000 from his Victims Services Fund to the creation of a toolkit and training programme called ‘Do you feel what I feel?’ which will be made available to all practitioners working within pre-school settings in Cheshire.
The programme has been designed to increase awareness of the effects of domestic abuse on young children, with the aim of equipping practitioners with the tools to support children in expressing their feelings, helping to prevent any long-term effects of exposure to such abuse.
Following a successful trial in Warrington, the programme has been developed by Warrington Borough Council, Cheshire Without Abuse and Barnardo’s.
Within the toolkit, practitioners will find play-based activities and stories with characterised scenarios which are all brought to life by a soft sock toy called Monkey Bob. Throughout various activities, a series of messages are revisited in order to help children feel secure and provide them with a clear plan for times when they may feel worried or frightened.
David Keane said of the programme:
“Domestic abuse is a serious crime that not only affects men and women, but also children.
“In the majority of families where there are children and where abuse is being perpetrated, the children will be aware of this and will often hear it or see it going on.
“The abuse can have a devastating impact on children that can last into adulthood.
“It’s critical that children have the confidence to speak up and, when it matters, to speak out.
“It’s fantastic to see the success this project has had among pre-school children in Warrington in helping to create a safe and natural environment for children to disclose any fears or concerns.
“I look forward to seeing the benefits of wider roll-out of the toolkit and training across the whole of Cheshire.”
Cheshire West and Chester Council have already started implementing the programme along with Cheshire East Council.