Team helps victims of domestic abuse

The St Helens DART team at Sutton Children's Centre.
The St Helens DART team at Sutton Children's Centre.

A new programme that helps children recover from the effects of domestic abuse is being rolled out.

The Domestic Abuse Recovering Together (DART) 10-week programme aims to help children aged seven to 14 – strengthening mother-child relationships through a range of activities.

Sessions promote communication and help families to move forward after the perpetrator of the abuse has left the relationship.

DART is based on the ‘Talking to My Mum’ research undertaken by University of Warwick, which shows that children’s outcomes are improved if the non-domestically abusive parent is supported to take an active part in the child’s recovery from domestic abuse.

The programme is the result of a partnership between St Helens Council’s Child in Need team and Warrington-based NSPCC specialists.

St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Young People, Coun Andy Bowden said: “The DART programme has been successfully delivered in Warrington since 2012 and we knew that it would benefit people here in St Helens too.

“The NSPCC has helped us to put our own DART team together and worked closely with us while we’ve got the new service off the ground. However we’re now at the stage where the council is ready to run its own programmes with minimal – and eventually no – support.

“We recognise that domestic violence and abuse can affect anyone and while DART has been developed specifically for women and children there are other support services available locally and nationally for men, including the St Helens Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (01744 743200), Worst Kept Secret (0800 028 3398), the Men’s Advice Line (0808 801 0327) and the Merseyside-based charity CALM (0800 58 58 58).”

With the NSPCC’s help St Helens Council has now delivered two successful DART programmes – helping 10 local families – with a third currently in the planning stage.

Contact DART in St Helens on 01744 673420.