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Why Is Domestic Abuse So Prevalent During Pregnancy?

Why Is Domestic Abuse So Prevalent During Pregnancy? We ask our Therapeutic Lead, Brenda Evans.

Domestic abuse during pregnancy is devastating for the parent and causes harm to the unborn baby. The For Baby's Sake Trust is dedicated to understanding and preventing the harm caused by domestic abuse. What Is Domestic Abuse? Domestic abuse is any abusive behaviour between people aged 16 and over, who are connected to each other. It often happens behind closed doors in the home and can include emotional, verbal, physical, financial, and sexual abuse. Babies and children who grow up exposed to domestic abuse, are also victims.

What Makes Pregnancy a High-Risk Time for Domestic Abuse?

It is not inevitable that you will experience domestic abuse during your pregnancy, but we know it is a time of increased risk. 30% of all domestic abuse starts in pregnancy, rising to 40% in the period from pregnancy until baby’s second birthday.

It is important to know you are not alone, it’s never okay for you or your baby to experience domestic abuse, and to seek help as soon as possible. Every person who experiences domestic abuse will have their own story and situation, with different factors impacting on family life at the time.  This means many factors may increase the risk of domestic abuse during pregnancy. Here are some factors to consider:

  • History of abusive behaviours: If there is a history of abuse in your relationship, or your partner has used abusive behaviours before, there is an increased risk of domestic abuse during pregnancy.
  • Heightened stress: Pregnancy is an exciting time for many, but can also lead to significant physical, emotional, and financial stress. Stress can impact on mental and emotional health, and while it is never an excuse, may exacerbate abusive behaviours.
  • Control Dynamics: The person using abusive behaviours may feel threatened by the impending changes that a new baby brings, leading to increased attempts to assert control.
  • Jealousy and Attention Shifts: The person using abusive behaviours may feel jealous of the attention the unborn child is receiving, leading to increased abusive behaviour.

It is also a time of great excitement and can harness motivation for change with support, most people do set out to be poor parents but, are often ill-equipped to cope with the overwhelming feelings they experience that are rooted in their own unresolved trauma for childhood.

This does not make it okay. You must seek help as soon as possible if you experience domestic abuse.

How Does Domestic Abuse Affect you in pregnancy?

Domestic abuse during pregnancy can affect you in lots of ways:

  • Physical Harm: Abuse can result in direct physical harm, including bruises, fractures, and potentially life-threatening injuries. These injuries can complicate the pregnancy and pose serious risks to your health, and the health of your baby.
  • Mental Health Impact: The stress and trauma of abuse can lead to severe mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This mental strain can impact your ability to care for yourself and your baby.
  • Avoidance of regular health checks: Women might be reluctant to attend regular medical appointments for fear of abuse being exposed or to appease their possessive partners.
  • Risk of further isolation: Abusive partners might become more controlling leading to further restrictions on where their partner can go or who can come to the home.

What Are the Risks to the Unborn Baby?

The effects of domestic abuse extend to the unborn baby in several ways:

  • Preterm Birth: The stress and physical trauma associated with abuse can lead to preterm labour, which carries its own set of health risks for the baby.
  • Low Birth Weight: Babies born to parents experiencing abuse are more likely to have lower birth weights, which can lead to developmental delays and health issues.
  • Long-Term Health Consequences: Exposure to domestic abuse in the womb can have long-term physical and psychological effects on the child, including developmental and behavioural problems.
  • Increases in Cortisol Levels: Babies in utero are subjected to toxic stress which can influence the development and structure of their brains. This can lead to difficulties in regulating emotion, concentration levels, ability to retain information and manage social situations.
  • Hard to Settle with Increased Risk of Colic: Once born, babies may be hard to settle and present as fractious, making it difficult to establish routines.

What can I do if I’m worried about domestic abuse?

If you are pregnant and experiencing, or worried about experiencing, domestic abuse, you must seek help.

If you are at immediate risk of harm, contact the police. You can also contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline 0808 2000247 or talk to your midwife, health visitor or social worker (if you already have one).

What happens after you share your experience will depend on your circumstances. In every case, there should be an assessment of the risk to you and your baby, and a social worker is likely to conduct this.

Remember they are there to keep you and your baby safe and will work with you to take action to minimise risk.

Why is it important to identify domestic abuse in pregnancy and give help as soon as possible?

It is vital to identify signs of domestic abuse in pregnancy and provide help. The following can support with this:

  • Health Monitoring: Regular check-ups and monitoring can help identify signs of abuse early, allowing for timely intervention and support.
  • Support Systems: Access to supportive resources, such as counselling and safe housing, can significantly improve outcomes for both the parent and the unborn child.
  • Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the prevalence and impact of domestic abuse during pregnancy is essential in encouraging people to seek help.

The For Baby’s Sake Trust emphasises the importance of recognising and addressing domestic abuse during pregnancy. 

By providing education, support, and resources, we aim to protect both parents and their babies from the impacts of abuse.

Learn more about our work with parents here

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What Is the Impact of Domestic Abuse on Babies and Children?

Domestic abuse impacts the whole family, and even the youngest children are deeply affected. The For Baby's Sake Trust is dedicated to raising awareness of the impact of domestic abuse on babies and children, understanding that these impacts are crucial for breaking the cycle of abuse and fostering healthier futures for affected families.
Understanding the Impact of Domestic Abuse on Babies and Infants

Babies and infants who experience domestic abuse – from conception to around age two – are at risk of a range of negative impacts: 

Developmental Delays: Exposure to abuse and stress in utero and during early infancy can impact a baby’s physical and cognitive development. Stress hormones released in response to trauma can affect brain development and functioning. There is a higher risk miscarriage, the baby being born prematurely and of having a low birth weight. 

Attachment Issues: Babies need consistent loving care to form secure attachments. An abusive environment disrupts this process, often leading to insecure attachment styles. These babies may struggle with trust and forming healthy relationships as they grow. 

The Effects of Domestic Abuse on Young Children

Children who experience domestic abuse often suffer a range of emotional, behavioural, and physical issues: 

Emotional Distress: Fear, anxiety, and depression are common among children in abusive households. They may live in constant fear, impacting their overall emotional health. 

Behavioural Problems: These children might display aggression, withdrawal, or other behavioural issues at school and in social settings. They may struggle with authority figures and have difficulty forming peer relationships. 

Health Issues: Chronic exposure to stress can lead to physical health problems such as headaches, stomach aches, and a weakened immune system. These children may also experience sleep disturbances and bedwetting. 

The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Adolescents

As children grow into adolescence, the impact of domestic abuse can become more complex: 

Risky Behaviours: Young people may turn to substance abuse, self-harm, or engage in violent behaviour as coping mechanisms. These behaviours are often cries for help and signals of underlying trauma. 

Relationship Issues: Witnessing or experiencing abuse can normalise unhealthy relationship dynamics. These adolescents are at a higher risk of becoming involved in abusive relationships themselves, perpetuating the cycle of abuse. 

Mental Health Struggles: Depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are prevalent among adolescents from abusive homes. They may also struggle with identity and self-worth, impacting their ability to succeed in school and other areas of life. 

Understanding Developmental Trauma

An understanding of developmental trauma is vital when working with children who have experienced trauma. Developmental trauma can be described as fear-inducing incidents that are repeated in a child’s life, rather than it being a one-off significant event. When the traumatic stressors are interpersonal – premeditated and perpetrated in relationships of care – it’s more damaging and constitutes complex trauma (Kezelman, 2012). Experiencing domestic abuse is a form of complex trauma. These traumatic experiences have detrimental neurological and health implications for children. 

Professor Bessel Van der Kolk states that early trauma creates an ‘assault’ on the child’s development over time. This is supported by Shore, who explains that trauma, abuse, and neglect inhibit the natural expansion of neural pathways forming within the infant’s rapidly developing brain, causing damage. Van der Kolk suggests that trauma threatens our survival and triggers our non-verbal response, immediately activating the body’s regulatory systems and increasing their sensitivity to perceived danger. Traumatised children are often ‘developmentally stuck’ in their brain stem, responsible for the fight/flight/freeze response. Whilst stuck in the brain stem, they find it more challenging to form secure attachments, manage emotions, think, learn, or reflect because they are simply trying to stay alive in a perceived dangerous world. 

How Can We Help Babies and Children Impacted by Domestic Abuse? 

Early help and ongoing support can make a significant difference in the lives of children affected by domestic abuse: 

Professional Counselling: Therapy can help children process their experiences and develop healthier coping mechanisms. Trauma-informed care is particularly effective in addressing these children’s complex needs. 

Safe Environments: Providing a stable, safe, and nurturing environment is crucial. This includes ensuring the child’s physical and emotional safety and creating a supportive atmosphere where they can express their feelings and fears. 

Educational Support: Schools have an opportunity to provide the stable, safe, and nurturing environment that these children urgently need. School staff play a key role in identifying and supporting children who are experiencing domestic abuse, role-modelling healthy relationships, and educating children of all ages about what it means to have a healthy relationship. 

Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Abuse 

Breaking the cycle of domestic abuse requires a comprehensive approach: 

Education and Awareness: Raising awareness about the impact of domestic abuse on children is essential. This includes educating parents, caregivers, and the broader community about the signs of abuse and the importance of intervention. 

Support for Parents: Helping parents who have experienced abuse to heal and develop healthier parenting skills is crucial. Programmes like For Baby’s Sake that offer therapeutic support and education can prevent the further perpetuation of abusive behaviours. 

Policy and Advocacy: Advocating for policies protecting children and supporting families is vital. This includes ensuring that laws are in place to protect children from domestic abuse and that there are sufficient resources for enforcement and support. 

The Role of Attachment and Safety in Development

Safety is the springboard of family life and human development and the foundation of Attachment theory. Establishing and maintaining a sense of being safe (along with actual safety itself) is the primary function of attachment figures. 

Once safety has been established, an infant is ready to begin to learn about the world and is much more likely to accept and be influenced by parental guidance and rules. 

Addressing Unresolved Childhood Trauma

Children who have suffered trauma need a different kind of parenting to help them “rewire” their “smoke detectors” and build new pathways in their brains. These children need parenting underpinned by empathy, nurture, clear boundaries, and natural consequences. This will enable them to link cause and effect and start to make attachments and trust adults again. 

Standard parenting techniques may replicate early abuse, and many rely heavily on the child’s ability to self-regulate, which is often unrealistic. Traumatised children may overreact, be aggressive, over-controlling, hypersensitive, and have overwhelming shame and fear of abandonment. 

The Importance of PACE

For every child and parent, home should be a place of safety and growth. When home functions as a secure base and safe haven, it is characterised by qualities of Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, and Empathy (PACE). 

 

PACE encapsulates an attitude that cherishes and invites development without harming the development of others. It conveys the awareness that each person is special and that both the rights of parents and children are respected. 

Conclusion

In summary, addressing the impacts of domestic abuse and trauma on babies and children requires a multi-faceted approach that includes understanding developmental trauma, providing professional support, creating safe environments, and educating and supporting both children and their parents

 

By doing so, we can help break the cycle of abuse and promote healthier, safer futures for affected families. 

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Why Do We Avoid Language Like “Domestic Violence”, “Perpetrator”, and “Victim”? Our Therapeutic Lead, Brenda Evans, Explains 

Language plays a powerful role in shaping our understanding and response to domestic abuse. Adopting considerate, appropriate, and non-judgmental language enhances empathy, clarity, and compassion; and a clearer understanding of each other as complex individuals with intersectional and varied identities and experiences. Definitive, negative labelling is reductive, dehumanising and, harmful and will do little to create the trust required to develop a framework for change. 

The For Baby’s Sake Trust advocates for mindful use of language to promote healing and empowerment. Terms like “domestic violence”, “perpetrator”, and “victim” carry significant weight and can influence how we perceive and address these issues. However, we are parent-led as an organisation, and will always opt to use the language chosen by our parents in whatever context is required. Nonetheless, you will see us avoid using “domestic violence”, “perpetrator”, and “victim” wherever possible in our work.  

Why Is Language Important in the Context of Domestic Abuse?

Why Is Language Important in the Context of Domestic Abuse? 

Language shapes our understanding and approach to domestic abuse: 

  • Stigmatisation: Terms like “victim” and “perpetrator” can reinforce stigma and perpetuate a sense of helplessness or blame. These labels can make it difficult for individuals to see beyond their current circumstances or to believe that change is possible. 
  • Empowerment: Using language that empowers individuals rather than defining them by their experiences is crucial for supporting healing and personal development. It helps them reclaim their identity and agency. 

Why Do We Avoid the Term "Domestic Violence"?

The term “domestic violence” can be limiting: 

  • Broader Context: Domestic abuse encompasses more than just physical violence. It includes emotional, psychological, sexual, and financial abuse. Using the term “domestic violence” can overlook these other forms of abuse. 
  • Focus on Violence: The term “violence” focuses on physical acts, which can minimise the severity of non-physical abuse. It is important to recognise and address all forms of abuse to provide comprehensive support and intervention. 

Why Do We Prefer the Term "Survivor" Over "Victim"?

Referring to individuals as “survivors” rather than “victims” has a profound impact: 

  • Emphasising Strength: The term “survivor” highlights the individual’s strength and resilience. It shifts the focus from what was done to them to their capacity to overcome and move forward. 
  • Promoting Agency: Using “survivor” reinforces the idea that individuals have the power to reclaim their lives and make positive changes. It helps in building self-esteem and empowerment. 

Why Avoid the Term "Perpetrator" or “Perp”?

The term “perpetrator” can be dehumanising and counterproductive: 

  • Focus on Behaviour: Instead of labelling someone as a “perpetrator”, we prefer to describe them as a “person who causes harm” or “uses abusive behaviour”. This focuses on the behaviour rather than the identity, reinforcing the belief that change is possible. 
  • Encouraging Responsibility: Shifting the focus from labels to behaviours encourages those who cause harm to take responsibility and seek change. It promotes accountability and the possibility of rehabilitation. 
  • Supporting Inclusion: Focussing on the individual using abusive behaviours rather than using labels like “perpetrator” or “perp” can help to remove pre-conceived ideas or bias surrounding these labels.  

How Does Language Impact Healing?

Mindful use of language promotes healing and empowerment: 

  • Promoting Agency: Empowering language helps survivors regain control and agency over their lives. It reinforces their ability to heal and move forward. 
  • Encouraging Responsibility: Using language that focuses on behaviour rather than identity encourages those who cause harm to take responsibility and make positive changes. 
  • Creating a Supportive Environment: Mindful language fosters a more supportive and empathetic environment. It helps to reduce stigma that can be a barrier to seeking help and promote understanding and compassion. 

How Does The For Baby's Sake Trust Implement These Principles?

At The For Baby’s Sake Trust, we are committed to using and promoting language that supports healing and transformation: 

  • Education and Training: We provide education and training on the importance of language in addressing domestic abuse. This includes workshops and resources for professionals, survivors, and the community. 
  • Resource Development: Our resources and materials reflect our commitment to empowering language. We ensure that all communications promote healing and support. 
  • Advocacy: We advocate for the use of empowering language in policies and programmes 

addressing domestic abuse. By promoting these principles, we aim to break down stigmas that prevent people seeking help for domestic abuse. 

In conclusion, The For Baby’s Sake Trust is dedicated to breaking cycles of domestic abuse by removing barriers that prevent families seeking help. Addressing our use of language is a vital step in addressing stigma surrounding domestic abuse. By understanding these complex issues and using empowering language, we can work towards healthier, safer relationships and communities. 

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Have I experienced trauma? Exploring trauma with our Therapeutic Lead, Brenda Evans 

Trauma is a complicated experience that affects many people worldwide.

At The For Baby's Sake Trust, we are dedicated to understanding how trauma impacts family life and breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.

Recognising the signs of trauma and finding ways to overcome it are important steps towards healing and recovery.

What Is a Traumatic Event?

A traumatic event is any experience that overwhelms your ability to cope. These events can be very different from each other, but they are usually unexpected, harmful, and not like the usual day-to-day experiences.  

Examples of Traumatic Events: 

  • Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. 
  • Violence and Abuse: Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and witnessing abuse; bullying and harassment  
  • Discriminatory Abuse: Racism, homophobia, transphobia, gendered abuse, misogyny, disablism.  
  • Accidents: Serious car accidents, workplace injuries, or other sudden, severe incidents. 
  • Loss: The sudden death of a loved one or significant loss like job loss or financial loss. 
  • Medical Issues: Personal Diagnoses of life-threatening illnesses or severe medical interventions; close family friends diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses or requiring intensive care 

Trauma can come from a single big event or from many small experiences. Ongoing bullying, chronic work stress, or being in a negative environment can add up over time and have the same emotional and psychological impact as a major traumatic event. It’s important to recognise and address this to understand the full impact of trauma on mental health and well-being.

How Do I Recognise Signs and Symptoms of Trauma?

  • Recognising trauma can be difficult because its signs and symptoms can vary and show up differently in different people. No two people will respond to an event in the same way either – and so it is important to consider signs and symptoms on an individual basis. 

Here are some potential signs to watch out for. 

Emotional Signs: 

  • Anxiety and Fear: Persistent feelings of anxiety, fear, and panic attacks. 
  • Depression: Ongoing sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. 
  • Irritability and Anger: Unexplained anger, irritability, and mood swings. 

 Physical Signs: 

  • Exhaustion: Constant tiredness, even with adequate rest. 
  • Aches and Pains: Unexplained physical pain, such as headaches or stomach aches. 
  • Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia, nightmares, and restless sleep. 

 Cognitive Signs: 

  • Concentration Issues: Difficulty focusing, memory problems, and confusion. 
  • Intrusive Thoughts: Persistent, unwanted thoughts or flashbacks of the traumatic event. 

Behavioural Signs: 

  • Avoidance: Avoiding places, people, or activities that are reminders of the traumatic event. 
  • Isolation: Withdrawing from friends, family, and social activities. 
  • Substance Abuse: Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or other substances to cope with the emotional pain. 

Recognising these signs can help in identifying trauma and seeking appropriate help. 

What Are the Signs of Trauma?

Understanding the signs of trauma can help with getting the right support. Trauma can affect an individual’s emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioural states. 

Emotional Impact: 

  • Hyperarousal: Being easily startled, feeling tense or “on edge”, and having difficulty relaxing. 
  • Emotional Numbness: Feeling detached from oneself and one’s surroundings, or a lack of emotional responsiveness. 

 Physical Symptoms: 

  • Somatic Complaints: Experiencing physical symptoms like headaches, nausea, and chronic pain without a clear medical cause. 
  • Changes in Appetite: Significant changes in eating habits, leading to weight loss or gain. 

 Cognitive Effects: 

  • Memory Problems: Difficulty recalling details of the traumatic event or other important information. 
  • Negative Thinking: Persistent negative thoughts about oneself, others, or the world. 

 Behavioural Changes: 

  • Risky Behaviours: Engaging in potentially harmful activities, such as reckless driving or unsafe sexual practices. 
  • Regression: Reverting to earlier stages of development, especially in children (e.g., bedwetting, thumb-sucking). 

By recognising these signs, individuals and their support networks can take steps towards seeking help and addressing the trauma. 

What is the Impact of Childhood Trauma?

Unresolved trauma creates symptoms instead of memories. To have a chance of understanding the person we are now, we need to understand who we were then, as a child.  

Children who have suffered trauma need a different kind of parenting to help them “rewire” their “smoke detectors” and build new pathways in their brains. These children need parenting that is underpinned by empathy, nurture, clear boundaries, and natural consequences. This will enable them over a prolonged period to begin to link cause and effect and start to make attachments and trust adults again.  

Standard parenting techniques may replicate early abuse, and many rely heavily on the child’s ability to self-regulate which is often unrealistic and crucially standardised “good parenting” doesn’t go far enough in healing the child. It assumes a basic level of security, empathy, resilience, and self-regulation that is simply not present in a traumatised child.  

Traumatised children may overreact, be aggressive, over controlling, hypersensitive, have difficulty in sensing hunger, pain and have overwhelming shame and fear of abandonment that is often all consuming. 

Safety is the springboard of family life and human development and the foundation of attachment theory. Without safety we would not have the opportunity to develop to maturity and reaching our potential would be greatly compromised as our brains do not function as well because when we feel unsafe, our priority is to feel safe again and that becomes our primary focus.  

Establishing and maintaining a sense of being safe (along with actual safety itself) is the primary function of attachment figures.  Once safety has been established, an infant is ready to begin to learn about the world and they are much more likely to accept and be influenced by parental guidance and rules, values, judgements, experiences, and intentions. 

When a child experiences acute, intense fear, pain or abuse their sense of safety is greatly impaired and are at risk of developing a traumatic response which might create an associated psychological problem. Attachment security, whereby a child can achieve a sense of security or manage the pain or fear serves as the best protection against the development of a traumatic response as well as encouraging the quickest resolution of any traumatic response that might develop.  

If any projected fears  from the parents are absorbed by the child – “he will never be the same again” he will actually be at greater risk to “never be the same again” Following trauma children experience intense affective and physical dysregulation – screaming, shouting, repetitive movements and expressions and staying with them in a congruent way that matches this state will allow them to release the terror through movements and expressions – this is the process of co regulation whereby the child’s dysregulated state is assisted.  

Once there has been some affective and physical mastery of a traumatic experience, cognitive mastery can develop with support from attachment figures. 

How Can I Heal From Trauma?

Healing from trauma is a deeply personal process, but it is possible to make progress with the right support and strategies. Here are some steps that can help: 

Seeking Professional Help: 

  • Therapy: Engaging with a therapist, especially one who specialises in trauma, can help. Types of therapy include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), and trauma-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy (TF-CBT). 
  • Support Groups: Joining support groups where individuals share similar experiences can provide comfort and understanding. 

 Building a Support System: 

  • Friends and Family: Leaning on trusted friends and family members for support can make a significant difference. Open communication about your experiences and needs is vital. 
  • Community Resources: Seeking help from local support groups, helplines, and non-profit organisations like The For Baby’s Sake Trust. 

 Self-Care and Coping Strategies: 

  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practising mindfulness, meditation, yoga and relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety. 
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Maintaining a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep to support overall well-being. 
  • Creative Outlets: Engaging in creative activities like writing, art, or music can provide an emotional release and a way to process experiences. 

 Education and Understanding: 

  • Learning About Trauma: finding out more about trauma and its effects can provide helpful insights. Understanding that trauma is a normal response to abnormal events can be empowering and help you to feel less alone. 
  • Patience and Compassion: Being kind to yourself and recognising that healing takes time. Self-compassion is crucial in navigating this journey. 

How Does The For Baby’s Sake Trust help people

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is dedicated to supporting families affected by domestic abuse through: 

Trauma-informed, Therapeutic Support:  

  • Therapeutic Practitioners work with parents from pregnancy until their baby is two to get to the root cause of domestic abuse. 

Educational Resources:  

  • Providing information and resources about domestic abuse and trauma, their effects, and coping strategies. 

Community Outreach and Campaigning:  

  • Working within our communities to raise awareness about domestic abuse and trauma, trauma and promoting supportive, healthy environments and relationships. 

In conclusion

Trauma can have a big impact on someone’s life. It’s important to recognise signs of trauma and learn what can help you to heal The For Baby’s Sake Trust is here to help every step of the way, with resources, education, and compassionate care. 

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Can Domestic Abuse Happen in LGBTQ+ Relationships?  

Data from Galop highlights that 20% of LGBTQ+ people in the UK have experienced domestic abuse from a partner, and yet, insights from Stonewall show that only 1 in 8 LGBTQ+ individuals who experienced violence or abuse reported the incident to the police.  

With Galop also citing that 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ people in the UK have experienced abuse from relatives, and acknowledging significant rates of underreporting, domestic abuse in LGBTQ+ relationships presents a significant challenge.  

Can domestic abuse happen in LGBTQ+ relationships?

Absolutely, domestic abuse can and does occur in LGBTQ+ relationships. While mainstream conversations often focus on heterosexual relationships, it’s crucial to recognise that abuse knows no boundaries and can affect anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Studies indicate that domestic abuse is a significant issue within the LGBTQ+ community. For instance, a report by Stonewall in 2018 found that one in six gay or bisexual men and two in five lesbian or bisexual women had experienced domestic abuse in their relationships. These statistics underline the importance of addressing domestic abuse within all types of relationships. 

What forms does domestic abuse take in LGBTQ+ relationships?

Domestic abuse in LGBTQ+ relationships can manifest in various forms, including physical violence, emotional abuse, financial control, and sexual abuse. Additionally, there are unique aspects of abuse specific to LGBTQ+ individuals. Those who use abusive behaviours might threaten to “out” their partners to family, friends, or employers as a form of control. They may also undermine their partner’s identity, for instance, by refusing to use correct pronouns or names. Understanding these specific tactics is essential for recognising and addressing abuse within the LGBTQ+ community. 

Are there unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing domestic abuse? 

LGBTQ+ individuals often face unique challenges when it comes to domestic abuse. For one, there is a lack of representation and awareness, which can make it difficult for individuals to recognise their experiences as abusive. Societal stigma and discrimination can also lead to feelings of isolation and shame, preventing individuals from seeking help. Moreover, fear of not being taken seriously or facing homophobia and transphobia from service providers can further deter LGBTQ+ individuals from accessing support. 

How does domestic abuse impact routes to parenthood for LGBTQ+ individuals? 

Domestic abuse can significantly impact routes to parenthood for LGBTQ+ individuals. The process of becoming a parent can be complex and challenging for LGBTQ+ couples, often involving adoption, surrogacy, or assisted reproductive technologies. Abuse can complicate these already intricate processes. For instance, the stress and trauma of an abusive relationship can affect mental health and stability, which are crucial for navigating legal and bureaucratic requirements. Additionally, those who use abusive behaviours might sabotage these processes, either by withholding financial resources, interfering with medical appointments, or threatening to expose the relationship in ways that could affect custody or adoption proceedings. Further, those who are experiencing abuse may feel reluctant to disclose or report the abuse for fear of it disrupting their route to parenthood.  

What can be done to improve support for LGBTQ+ individuals facing domestic abuse?

Improving support for LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing domestic abuse requires a multi-faceted approach. First, there needs to be increased awareness and education about the prevalence and nature of domestic abuse in LGBTQ+ relationships. This can help reduce stigma and encourage individuals to seek help. Service providers, including police, healthcare professionals, and social workers, should receive training on LGBTQ+ issues to ensure they can offer sensitive and appropriate support. It’s also essential to expand and promote services specifically designed for LGBTQ+ individuals, such as those offered by charities like Galop. 

Which charities and organisations can help LGBTQ+ individuals facing domestic abuse?

Several organisations provide specialised support for LGBTQ+ individuals experiencing domestic abuse. Galop is a UK-based charity that offers confidential support and advice to LGBTQ+ individuals who experience abusive behaviours. They have a helpline and various resources tailored to the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Stonewall, another prominent LGBTQ+ charity, provides information and resources on domestic abuse and can help direct individuals to appropriate support services. Additionally, organisations like the LGBT Foundation offer valuable support and advocacy for LGBTQ+ individuals facing domestic abuse. And, organisations like Switchboard, the national LGBTQ+ support line, are available to discuss any issues you might be facing.  

In summary

Domestic abuse is a serious issue that affects individuals in LGBTQ+ relationships just as it does those in heterosexual relationships. It can take many forms and is often compounded by unique challenges related to societal stigma and discrimination. Understanding these dynamics and ensuring that appropriate support is available is crucial. By raising awareness, improving training for service providers, and promoting specialised support services, services and programmes like For Baby’s Sake can better support LGBTQ+ individuals facing domestic abuse.  

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out to organisations like Galop, Stonewall or the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for support and guidance.

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Can People Change? We Ask Our Therapeutic Lead, Brenda Evans

The question of whether individuals, particularly those who have used abusive behaviour, can change is complex and multifaceted.

We explored this with Brenda Evans, the Therapeutic Lead at The For Baby's Sake Trust. Brenda provides valuable insights into the potential for behavioural change and the factors that influence it.

What Does Research Say About Behavioural Change?

Research suggests that behavioural change is possible but challenging, especially for those with a history of abusive behaviour:

  • Nature vs. Nurture: Both genetic predispositions and environmental factors contribute to behaviour. While genetics can influence tendencies, environmental factors and experiences play a significant role in shaping behaviour.
  • Therapeutic Interventions: Evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and trauma-informed care, can help individuals recognise and alter harmful behaviours. These therapies focus on understanding the root causes of behaviour and developing healthier coping mechanisms.

What Are the Key Factors in Facilitating Change?

Several factors are crucial in facilitating behavioural change:

  • Motivation and Commitment: The individual’s genuine desire to change and commitment to the process are fundamental. Without this, any change is likely to be superficial and unsustainable.
  • Accountability: Accepting responsibility for one’s actions is a significant hurdle. Those who use abusive behaviours must acknowledge their behaviour and its impact to begin the journey of change.
  • Support Systems: Professional help, such as therapy and counselling, is vital. Additionally, a supportive network of family and friends can reinforce positive changes and provide a buffer against relapse.
  • Meaningful, Trusting, Collaborative, Therapeutic Relationship: Relationships heal relationships. Establishing a strong therapeutic relationship between the individual and their professional is essential. This relationship provides a safe space for individuals to explore their behaviours and emotions, fostering trust and collaboration. A professional’s empathy, understanding, and non-judgmental approach are critical in helping the individual feel supported and motivated to change.

What Are the Challenges in Changing Abusive Behaviour?

Changing abusive behaviour is fraught with challenges:

  • Deep-Rooted Patterns: Abusive behaviours are often deeply ingrained, making change a slow and challenging process. It requires persistent effort and ongoing support.
  • Resistance to Change: Many individuals resist change due to fear, denial, or a lack of understanding about the impact of their actions. Overcoming this resistance is a critical step in the process.
  • Social Conditioning, Learnt Behaviours, Flawed Belief Systems & Scripts: Abusive behaviours are often reinforced by societal norms and personal experiences. Individuals may have internalised flawed belief systems and scripts that justify their actions, making it difficult to unlearn these patterns and adopt healthier behaviours.
  • Lack of Emotional Regulation: Those who use abusive behaviours often struggle with regulating their emotions, leading to outbursts of anger and aggression. Developing emotional regulation skills through therapeutic support and practice is essential for sustainable change.
  • Unresolved Childhood Trauma: Many individuals who exhibit abusive behaviours have experienced trauma in their own childhoods. Addressing these unresolved issues through therapy is crucial for breaking the cycle of abuse and fostering healthy behaviours.

Are There Success Stories Demonstrating that People Can Change?

Brenda shares that while change is challenging requiring longer-term support, it is not impossible. The For Baby’s Sake Trust has achieved successful outcomes for hundreds of individuals and their families who have transformed their lives and relationships through dedication and support:

  • Personal Growth: Many individuals who genuinely commit to the process and engage with therapeutic support can and do change. They learn healthier ways to cope with stress and manage relationships.
  • Family Healing: Families can heal and rebuild trust over time. This requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to forgive and move forward.
  • Increased Self-Awareness & Self-Worth: Individuals develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their behaviours, leading to increased self-awareness. This awareness fosters a sense of self-worth and empowers individuals to make positive changes in their lives.
  • Providing a Safe, Loving Home Environment Where Children Can Flourish: Creating a safe and nurturing home environment is essential for children’s well-being. Through behavioural change, individuals can provide a stable and loving home where children feel secure and can thrive.

Increased Sense of Self: As individuals work through their issues and develop healthier behaviours, they often experience an increased sense of self. This newfound confidence and self-assurance contribute to their overall well-being and ability to maintain positive changes.

What Role Does The For Baby's Sake Trust Play in Enabling People to Change?

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is committed to supporting individuals and families on their journey towards healthier relationships:

  • Therapeutic Support: We offer trauma-informed, therapeutic support, designed to identify the root causes of abusive behaviour, understand the impact of their own parenting experiences, improve emotional regulation and be the best parents they can be.
  • Support for Families: We provide resources and support for families affected by abuse and those using harmful behaviours, helping them to heal and build stronger, more supportive relationships.
  • Education and Advocacy: We work to raise awareness about the potential for change and the importance of support and intervention. By advocating for policies and programs that support behavioural change, we aim to create a safer, healthier environment for all.

In conclusion, while changing abusive behaviour is challenging, it is possible with the right support and commitment. The For Baby’s Sake Trust is dedicated to providing the resources and support needed to facilitate this change and promote healthier, safer relationships.

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Father’s Day 2024 with Therapeutic Practitioner Jon Nelson

To mark Father's Day 2024, we sat down with Jon Nelson, one of our wonderful For Baby's Sake Therapeutic Practitioners, to learn more about how his experiences as a dad inform his work with fathers in our programme.

Read on to learn more.

Jon, an you share your experience of parenthood and how it has shaped your approach to your work with dads in For Baby’s Sake?

Parenthood has been the hardest and best thing I have ever experienced. I have learnt a lot about myself and it has given me a greater empathy for those families we work with. I was very fortunate to have a very stable, loving childhood and I have found parenting very hard at times so can only look on in awe at how some of the families we work with adapt given the examples they had.

My own experiences have given me a greater insight into work with the dads on the programme as I have an appreciation for the times they appear lost or unsure as well as the experiences they have had feeling somewhat sidelined at times during the run-up to the birth.

What are some common challenges you observe among the dads you work with as a Therapeutic Practitioner, and how do you support them in overcoming these challenges?

I think a common challenge I experience is fathers lacking in confidence in their abilities or connection with their child. I think for a lot of dads (including myself) I worried about how I would manage and if I would be a good father.

My dad gave me some good advice ahead of my child being born which was don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed or a little lost when you first hold them, it takes time for it to sink in and then you’ll just be swept along by it all. I think this is a feeling shared by the fathers and why I feel Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)  can be so powerful especially with fathers, being able to see for themselves that their baby is connecting with them and that they are much more capable then they thought can really lift some of the dads.

In your experience, what are some of the most rewarding aspects of fatherhood, both personally and in your work?

I think the little moments are the most rewarding for me, the small smiles, expressions and character that come through from my child more than make up for those tough sleepless nights. I have found that these are the little things that I remember as a lot of memories are a bit of a blur. I also love the raw emotions (some more than others). The pure joy my child feels about the smallest things really puts things in perspective for me; they are the one that lifts me up even if they don’t know they do yet.

In terms of my work as a Therapeutic Practitioner, I think the shared experience has helped me a lot when connecting with some of the fathers I work with. Being able to say with authority that I understand how they are feeling deepens the therapeutic relationship greatly, and some of my preconceptions have definitely changed since becoming a father.

How do you approach building trust and rapport with the dads you work with, especially considering the complex issues they may be facing?

I think a lot of the dads we work with have pre-conceived ideas of how they will be viewed or treated; either being dismissed or disbelieved. A lot of the early sessions are about giving space and time so that the dads feel heard, by giving space and opportunity they begin to perceive our work as different to what they may have expected. We also have the advantage of time with our families so we are able to give them space. Whilst being non-judgmental but not colluding with their views or behaviours it opens up conversations and trust. This trust is the most vital part of the work in my opinion as when you have this you can challenge openly and focus on the source of a lot of behaviours.

Can you describe a particularly memorable success story or moment in your work with dads that highlights the impact of For Baby’s Sake?

A real standout moment for me came towards the end of the work with one of my first families. This father had struggled greatly with managing his emotions towards his first child. He held a lot of shame and guilt around becoming that person again as he was expecting his 2nd child. He was a big rugby player who used a lot of humour as a shield but towards the end he was able to speak openly about his feelings at that time and reflect upon how different his relationship was with his 2nd child but also how he was able to repair his relationship with his first child. He was very grateful for that as I believe he felt that that connection was irrecoverable. Something that stuck in my mind after working with him was ‘I don’t want them (his children) to wonder if their dad loves them I want them to know he does’.

What advice would you give to new or expectant dads who may feel overwhelmed or unsure about their role?

You’re not alone in this feeling, you are more capable than you know yet, you will struggle but that’s okay. It’s okay to ask for help and to not know.

What role do you see dads playing in childhood development and family well-being, and how does For Baby’s Sake support them in fulfilling this role?

Dads play an integral role in their children’s lives, this is reflected in the amount of parents that we speak to who discuss how conflict, separation and abuse impacted their childhood and subsequently adulthoods. Very few of the dads I have worked with have had positive male role models in their lives and I feel this is a huge part of any parents responsibilities.

We know how an unsafe and toxic environment can negatively impact a child’s development and wellbeing that’s why giving dad’s the information to be informed of their role and how they can impact their child’s life both positively and negatively is so important.

How do you address the unique needs and experiences of dads from diverse backgrounds and communities in your work?

I feel holding an open mind is best when going into any case, it can be hard not to hold certain preconceived ideas but each parent can teach you something or make you reflect in a different way.

Finally, as a dad yourself, what’s been your most surprising “dad moment” that still makes you smile whenever you think about it?

Probably doing a 2-hour improvised disco at 2am when my child was little – didn’t expect that to be the thing that would settle them and get them to sleep!

Thanks so much for sharing, Jon! If you’d like to learn more about how we work with parents all year round, head here

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An interview with our Guest Contributor, Dr Hannah Roche

“As LGBTQ+ people, we may feel pressure to show the world that we and our love lives are perfect: how can we strive for equality and celebrate progress and Pride if queer relationships can be abusive? This is (...) one of the reasons why coercive control in LGBTQ+ relationships so often remains hidden.”

We were thrilled to sit down with our latest Guest Contributor, Dr Hannah Roche, to learn more about how domestic abuse manifests in LGBTQ+ relationships.

Dr Hannah Roche is Senior Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture at the University of York. She is the author of The Outside Thing: Modernist Lesbian Romance (Columbia University Press, 2019) and co-editor of the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness (2024). Hannah is currently working on Coercive Control: From Literature into Law, a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Please note, all views reflected are the individual’s own, and not representative of their employer. 

Dr Roche, could you tell us about your current project on Coercive Control: From Literature into Law and what inspired you to delve into this area of research?

I work on the British writer Radclyffe Hall, whose novel The Well of Loneliness—the so-called “Lesbian Bible”—was famously banned for obscenity in 1928. In 2015, I spent three months at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas, where I examined a collection of letters that Hall sent to Evguenia Souline, a nurse who had settled in Paris after fleeing the Russian Revolution. Hall was in a long-term relationship with Una, Lady Troubridge, but she fell for Souline and began an affair that lasted from 1934 until Hall’s death in 1943. Only one side of the correspondence has survived, but the story that Hall’s letters tell is shocking: she was intensely jealous and possessive of the younger woman, and she attempted to police every aspect of her personal, emotional, and social life.

To use terms familiar to us now, Hall developed techniques of gaslighting and negging as she tried to assert dominance over Souline. She did all she could to persuade Souline that she was a bisexual woman who was in love with her: “You desire [my love] more than anything else in the world—don’t deceive yourself, my Souline”, Hall wrote, even while acknowledging that Souline felt “terrified and revolted at the thought of this thing”. When, in December 2015, England and Wales became the first jurisdiction in the world to make “controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family relationship” an offence, I couldn’t help but reflect on Hall’s letters. Abuse in intimate partner relationships is not always physical: it can be emotional and psychological, involving surveillance, regulation, isolation, manipulation, and mind control.

It might seem strange given the subject, but Coercive Control: From Literature into Law is a project that I developed in collaboration with my wife. Katy is also an academic, working on Victorian and modern literature, and we were both struck by the many representations of coercive control in nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels. This may be a “new” crime, but it has a long and disturbing history in both real life and fiction, and we wanted to investigate how creative storytelling has both anticipated and underscored legal change.

Could you share some insights from literary works that depict coercive control in relationships between women? How do these representations impact our understanding of domestic abuse?

Coercive control between women is explored in a range of literary forms and genres. Carmen Maria Machado’s bestselling memoir In the Dream House (2019) casts light on the fact that, as she describes it, “domestic abuse between partners who share a gender identity is both possible and not uncommon”. In the book, Machado shares her own devastating narrative, but she also assembles what she modestly describes as a “very rough, working attempt at a canon” of literature on queer domestic abuse. Importantly for our project on literature and the law, Machado asks questions about what “evidence” might look like when abuse is psychological and there are no scars or bruises to prove it. In the Dream House is a brilliant, shattering, essential read.

In Bernardine Evaristo’s novel Girl, Woman, Other, which won the Booker Prize in 2019, Dominique finds herself in a relationship with a woman who “wanted to micro-manage her entire life, including her mind”. Like so many people who experience domestic abuse, Dominique starts to feel “like an altered version of herself after a while, her mind foggy, emotions primal, senses heightened”. As her consciousness is filled with her abuser’s voice, she finds that she has forgotten how to be alone. Although Evaristo’s work is fictional, it plays a similar role to Machado’s memoir in showing readers how women can become trapped in abusive relationships with other women. Crucially, both of these texts tell stories of survival.

What are some common misconceptions about domestic abuse in LGBTQ+ relationships, particularly between women, that you have encountered in your research?

The biggest misconception is that it simply does not exist. In her poetry collection For Your Own Good (2015), Leah Horlick reflects on the invisibility of abuse between women: “She doesn’t give you black eyes, and / the doctors do not see her”, she writes in “The Disappearing Woman”. People often imagine a domestic abuser to be a certain kind of man: physically strong, domineering, outwardly aggressive, perhaps working-class. Of course, this is not always the case: Machado’s abuser is a “short and pale and rail-thin” woman with a degree from Harvard. In Evaristo’s novel, Dominique is confused when her Black feminist partner—“a sexy sistah, an inspiration, a phenomenon”—starts to behave “like a male chauvinist”, forcing Dominique to give up her independence and submit to her control.

In No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know about Domestic Violence Can Kill Us (2020), Rachel Louise Snyder rightly points out that men remain “the overwhelming majority of perpetrators, and women the overwhelming majority of victims” of domestic violence. Nonetheless, it is vital that we recognise abuse in relationships between people of all genders and sexualities and do what we can to prevent it.

Can you discuss the unique dynamics of coercive control in relationships between women? Are there specific patterns or behaviours that differ from those typically observed in other kinds of relationships?

Although coercive control is not always easy to identify, its patterns are remarkably similar across genders, sexualities, and cultures. That said, LGBTQ+ people can be particularly vulnerable to forms of control that centre on gender and sexuality. An abuser might threaten to “out” their partner to family members or colleagues, for instance, or force them to question their identity or sexual orientation. If an LGBTQ+ person has been rejected by their family, an abuser may see that as an opportunity to isolate them further. As is the case for heterosexual couples, parenthood can lead to an escalation of controlling behaviour. An abuser in an LGBTQ+ relationship might exclude their partner from key decisions about their child or even withhold the child from them, especially (but not always) if the abused parent does not hold legal parental rights.

As LGBTQ+ people, we may feel pressure to show the world that we and our love lives are perfect: how can we strive for equality and celebrate progress and Pride if queer relationships can be abusive? This is an uncomfortable question that books like Machado’s force us to confront, and it’s just one of the reasons why coercive control in LGBTQ+ relationships so often remains hidden.

The For Baby’s Sake Trust focuses on supporting families to break the cycle of domestic abuse. How do you see literary representations of domestic abuse contributing to such real-world efforts and initiatives?

In the face of appalling global statistics on domestic abuse, imaginative rather than real-life accounts of coercive control may appear trivial or inconsequential. But research shows that a society-wide knowledge of the insidious nature of coercive control and its telltale patterns and timelines can help to prevent its escalation towards physical violence and murder. Jane Monckton Smith’s Control: Dangerous Relationships and How They End in Murder (2021) explains how an awareness of the Homicide Timeline enables us to recognise abusive relationships in their early stages. If we can predict certain behaviours, we can prevent them.

Literary representations of coercive control can inform and empower readers by alerting them to dangerous patterns of behaviour. This is exactly what happened when the Rob and Helen Titchener storyline aired on BBC Radio Four’s The Archers: Women’s Aid reported a 20% increase in calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. Many survivors of coercive control recognised themselves and their experiences of abuse in Helen’s story, and it gave them the knowledge and the confidence to seek help.

We might also think about the term “gaslighting” and its roots in imaginative storytelling. Gas Light was a 1938 play, which was made into two films (both titled Gaslight) in 1940 and 1944. The story of Gaslight has made its way into the public consciousness, giving us the vocabulary to discuss and understand a particular form of psychological abuse.

How can educators and advocates use literature as a tool to better educate the public and professionals about the signs and impacts of coercive control and domestic abuse in LGBTQ+ relationships, particularly among women?

Monckton Smith’s work shows that coercive control is “not about a dynamic between two people; it is all about a controlling person”. Novels like Girl, Woman, Other challenge our assumptions about who a controlling person might be. Identifying and discussing coercive control in fiction—whether that’s in Mr Rochester’s manipulation of Jane Eyre or Dominique’s “becoming empty of purpose other than to love Nzinga unconditionally, and increasingly, obey her”—helps us to become more alert to it in real life. We only need to look at the response to The Archers or the Netflix miniseries Maid (2021) to begin to understand the role that stories about coercive control can play in both supporting survivors and educating the public. The key is to ensure that these narratives—on the radio, screen, or page—are representative of diversity and accessible to everyone.

Thank you for sharing, Hannah!
 

If you’d like to be involved in our Guest Contributor series, please email daisyobrien@forbabyssake.org.uk.

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Press Release: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council Fund Pioneering Work to Break the Cycle of Domestic Abuse

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council have pledged their support to fund For Baby’s Sake, a pioneering programme supporting families to break cycles of domestic abuse, over the next three years.

This significant commitment underscores the critical need for services addressing domestic abuse and promoting family wellbeing.

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council have pledged their support to fund For Baby’s Sake, a pioneering programme supporting families to break cycles of domestic abuse, over the next three years. This significant commitment underscores the critical need for services addressing domestic abuse and promoting family wellbeing.

A comprehensive review highlighted the effectiveness of For Baby’s Sake in addressing domestic abuse through its whole-family approach, commencing in pregnancy, to break cycles of domestic abuse and provide babies with a positive start in life. The programme aims to reduce the likelihood of children entering local authority care, emphasising positive outcomes for families.

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is actively working towards a pan-London model, seeking to expand its reach to additional local authorities. This funding will be instrumental in solidifying the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council as central to this evolving model.

Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO at The For Baby’s Sake Trust, shared her response to the extension of funding:

“We are delighted to share the news that the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council will extend funding for For Baby’s Sake over the next three years. Their support reaffirms the critical role For Baby’s Sake plays in addressing the needs of families impacted by domestic abuse.

By funding our programme, they have demonstrated their dedication to safeguarding babies and children from harm and their commitment to the long-term investment required to break cycles of domestic abuse. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council are key players in shaping the future of family support services across the capital and beyond. We are immensely grateful for their continued commitment to bringing lasting change in the lives of babies, children and families.”

The impact of For Baby’s Sake is evident in the testimonials from professionals within Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. Practitioners have created safe spaces for parents to explore their own experiences, resulting in positive changes within families. Parents themselves have spoken positively about the programme, highlighting its role in supporting them through challenging circumstances.

A Social Worker with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea said:

“The For Baby’s Sake Practitioners created a safe and holding space for each of the parents to feel secure to explore their own childhoods and to consider the relationship with their own parenting. We were impressed with the therapeutic knowledge and approach of the team who were able to create formulations that truly reflected what was happening for the family. This personalised approach enabled the team and the parents to create personalised goals which attuned to the needs of the family and held the child in mind. We greatly appreciate the input from the team when they are working alongside us with families.”

This funding from The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster City Council comes at a significant period of growth for The For Baby’s Sake Trust, who have recently also received funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to expand the impact of their work supporting babies, children and families throughout the UK.

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