Domestic abuse support group launches in Stevenage and North Herts

PUBLISHED: 08:30 17 August 2019

“Suffering from domestic abuse impacts everyone, including children who are traumatised hearing their mum and dad causing harm,

"Suffering from domestic abuse impacts everyone, including children who are traumatised hearing their mum and dad causing harm," Marilyn Hawes, founder of Freedom from Abuse. Picture: Pexels.

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A project has launched aimed at supporting survivors of domestic abuse and their young children in Stevenage and North Herts.

Phoenix Against Domestic Abuse is a charitable venture set up by two survivors in partnership with the Hertfordshire Practical Parenting Programme, which helps people find solutions to parenting problems.

Operations manager Jacqueline Gear said: "Some children are trying out negative behaviours because they have watched them in the home. We are trying to get to them before they get to crisis.

"We want to work with children affected by domestic abuse at an early age and focus on prevention rather than cure."

Phoenix holds a group on Fridays, from 9.30am to 11.30am, to help build confidence and self-esteem, and provide parenting strategies and peer support. The location cannot be publicised for safeguarding reasons.

Jacqueline said: "We have a small group of mums who attend, so are encouraging more mums and dads to come, particularly teenage mums and dads.

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"The abuse can be historical or ongoing. We are not promising we have everything survivors need, but we identify key issues and then purchase services from the right people. We also have highly skilled family support workers."

Marilyn Hawes, founder of Freedom from Abuse, is providing Phoenix with additional support.

She has been dedicated to teaching parents and carers how to protect their children from sexual abuse since her three sons were sexually groomed and assaulted by their headteacher.

Marilyn said: "Suffering from domestic abuse impacts everyone, including children who are traumatised hearing their mum and dad causing harm.

"Being harmed by domestic abuse does not define us as people, it breaks us and the person struggling within us to find a way forward."

An information-sharing event called I Am Somebody will be held at the Mercure Hotel in Hatfield from 8.45am to 1pm on September 20, when there will be personal accounts from survivors of domestic abuse, and practical support for parents, specifically around child-parent abuse.

For more information and to book, visit eventbrite.co.uk and search for 'Domestic Abuse Information Sharing Event'.

For more about the Phoenix group, call 01992 63800 or email info@hertfordshireppp.co.uk.

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