Survivors came together for the second Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse conference yesterday, entitled ‘Through Emily’s Eyes’, which focused on the impact abuse has on children.

The Comet: Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse conference 2020 invited specialists to discuss the impact abuse had on children. Picture: Stevenage Borough CouncilStevenage Against Domestic Abuse conference 2020 invited specialists to discuss the impact abuse had on children. Picture: Stevenage Borough Council (Image: Archant)

Hosted by Stevenage Borough Council, the SADA conference welcomed service users, councillors, and organisations to the morning event which included guest speakers, stalls and a first-person account of the impact domestic abuse can have on children from 14-year-old Emily.

The brave teen spoke about her experience growing up in a home where domestic abuse was taking place, from age four to nine.

She said: "We're using it to teach people that it's not right and it doesn't have to be this way.

"There are people out there that can help you. We will never forget what happened, but we can always turn a negative into a positive."

This followed a welcome and introduction from council leader Sharon Taylor, who introduced the first guest speaker Nshorna Davis, founder of Mindfulness Support Service CIC.

Nshorna talked about her organisation, which she set up last year, and the services it provides to adults and children affected by domestic abuse, as well as mindfulness training for those who work in public services.

Brenda Evans and Jaqueline Barrick from For Baby's Sake - which comes under the Stefanou Foundation - next discussed their company's work with children on trauma management.

The organisation also offers a two-year programme working with families who are impacted as a result of harmful patterns of behaviour.

It also equips both parents to support the mental health and emotional development of their baby. The concept of play therapy - a way of helping children deal with their trauma having witnessed a parent being abused - was also discussed.

Stuart Coulden - a specialist working with adolescents and young adults on conflict resolution, as a preventative measure - talked about how missed developmental milestones in youth can lead to one not being able to express anger in a safe way, and his work with perpetrators.

Fay Maxted from The Survivor's Trust, who has worked in the field for 23 years, talked about counselling offered for all victims of sexual abuse or rape.

Sharon Taylor added: "Stevenage Against Domestic Abuse is a passion of mine. All of our team are trained to recognise the signs of domestic abuse.

"We've made huge drives forward, but still have a little work to do."

SADA is a support service run by Stevenage Borough Council, and available for residents living in North Herts, Welwyn Hatfield and East Herts.

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