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The Government has awarded a grant of over £2m to nine projects which support children of families affected by domestic abuse and drugs and alcohol.
For some families, Christmas and New Year bring an added threat of fear and abuse, as families spend more time together in close proximity, according to the Department for Education, which revealed that this time of year regularly sees a seasonal spike in domestic violence incidents reported to the police.
Secretary of State for Education Justine Greening announced the funding, saying “it will help us to support families that have experienced domestic violence, as well as helping to prevent abuse occurring in future. It’s people working with the most vulnerable in our society on the ground who are often best placed to trial new approaches to keeping them safe, and these nine projects can make a real difference.”
The grant funding will support a range of projects, including a programme in Dorset run by the Children’s Society providing intensive support for almost 200 children and young people who have lived through issues relating to domestic violence and parental substance misuse.
The Tavistock Relationships project, based in London, will use its funding to intervene with high-risk families experiencing repeated domestic violence, as well as training frontline workers in how to keep children safe.
In Kent, Home Start UK will use the money to run a project to tackle domestic abuse and substance misuse aimed at fathers in low-income families to help prevent abuse and improve their involvement in parenting. Three projects will use the funding to tackle radicalisation in London, Lancashire and Walsall, and two projects will work to safeguard young girls from female genital mutilation (FGM).
The nine organisations receiving the funding are:
• Midaye Somali Development Network
• Foundation for Women’s Health Research Development (FORWARD)
• Street Teams
• Victim Support
• Sheffield Futures
• Home Start UK
• The Church of England Children’s Society
• Tavistock Relationships
Chief operating officer for The Children’s Society, Val Floy, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding to deliver ‘Reveal’, which will support children living in families affected by both substance misuse and domestic violence. This is a fantastic opportunity to deliver a pioneering service and make long-term sustainable improvements to the lives of the most vulnerable children and young people in the Dorset area.”
Kidscape’s director of services, Peter Bradley revealed that the funding will mean “we are able to safeguard those young people who previously had little or no support”.
He added: “Our Extremism and Radicalisation Awareness programme builds upon our current safeguarding work in educational settings. We’re passionate about children’s safety and have been concerned for some time about young people who may be vulnerable to extremist ideologies.”