We know that children who have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse will often feel angry, guilty, powerless, alone and frightened.
Jayne was 8 when she was referred to us; she was withdrawn, easily startled and complained regularly about physical symptoms such as stomach aches. Her mum was worried about the effects on Jayne of the abuse she herself had suffered and that Jayne had witnessed.
Jayne met with her counsellor and began to tell her story about how she had been spat and shouted at and how she felt as if she had done something wrong.
During one session, Jayne drew a picture which depicted the abuse that her mother had experienced. This picture became the very thing that we were able to use to talk safely to Jayne about her experiences of feeling unsafe, scared and alone.
Our job is to know children and because of this, we know that they blame themselves for any ill treatment they experience at the hands of adults; we know that we need to help support a child to understand that they are not in the wrong and that grown-ups are not always right and can sometimes make mistakes.
Our therapist used puppets and art materials to gently support Jayne to talk about what she felt had happened and in doing this, she started to understand and become free of the negative experiences and to begin to heal.
Jayne is now a lively, bright and engaging young girl who understands that she is 'good' and is free from the guilt and destructive memories.