One in five young people in the UK will have experienced some form of domestic abuse by the time they reach 18.
Witnessing and experiencing abuse has a massive impact on children and young people’s mental health. Without early intervention and support to address this, the impact can go on to limit their opportunities throughout their whole lives.
Lockdowns and COVID restrictions over the past year have impacted most people’s mental health and on top of that, some people have been stuck in homes that aren’t safe with their abusers. This has led to an increase in the number of children and young people desperately needing support, like 13 year old Ava.
Ava came to Glow for one to one support, after struggling with her experiences of domestic abuse. She’d witnessed her mum being abused – first by Ava’s father, who she decided to stop contact with when he moved out, and then by her new partner.
Ava was worried about her own safety, she had low self-esteem and felt she was being manipulated and emotionally abused by her father.
Her support worker at Glow, Ruth, realised she was taking on a lot of caring responsibilities at home. She was also being physically and emotionally abused by her mum’s ex-partner, and her father was harassing her.
With all of these struggles, Ruth focussed the sessions around the girl’s mental health – asking important questions and exploring how she was coping. Ava then disclosed that she’d had suicidal thoughts and was feeling really low.
Straight away, Ava’s support worker knew that she needed extra help so agreed to refer Ava to both the Young Carers’ team, and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), where an appointment was arranged for the next day.
Ruth went along for extra support during the session, where they discovered Ava had previously tried to take an overdose.
Glow worked closely with CAMHS and the Young Carers’ Team to make sure Ava, and her mum, had the right support in place. Since then there’s been a clear improvement in her self-care and wellbeing.
Glow’s support was tailored around Ava and continued throughout the pandemic, moulding around lockdowns, school closures and self-isolation, making sure Ava always had the help and support she needed.