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Identify violent behaviours among schoolchildren to stop the cycle of domestic violence, says Islington Council

Schoolchildren who start to show signs of aggressive behaviour after witnessing or being victim to domestic violence are to receive special support as part of a new strategy to tackle violence against women and girls in Islington.
 
Council staff working with vulnerable young people in the borough observe a clear link between children seeing or experiencing domestic violence in the home and subsequently getting caught up in the criminal justice system. 
 
Islington Council will work with local organisations to identify aggressive behaviour among schoolchildren, who may themselves have been victims of domestic violence, in the hope of preventing them from becoming abusive in later life. 
 
Studies show that the single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life is whether they grow up in a home where domestic violence occurs. Young people from abusive homes are also more likely to exhibit signs of aggression. 
 
Islington Council’s preventative approach is set out in the borough’s new strategy – launched today with the police and partners – for tackling violence against women and girls.
 
Its wide-ranging proposals include piloting the NSPCC’s ‘DART’ scheme, which supports mothers and children to speak with each other about domestic violence and strengthen their relationships.
 
As part of the scheme, victims of domestic violence have the chance to meet other mothers and children who have lived through similar trauma and share their experiences. The council aims to introduce the scheme after Easter.
 
The new strategy also outlines plans to train children’s workers so they are in a better position to identify and respond to other forms of violence against women and girls, such as ‘sexting’ and online exploitation, which may be less obvious than physical abuse but can be equally harmful.
 
Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, Cllr Andy Hull, said: “Violence against women and girls is everyone’s business and should never be tolerated, in any form, by any of us. Making Islington a fairer place must also mean making it a safer place for everyone who lives here, especially in their own homes.
 
“As a community, we stand alongside survivors of such abuse and are determined to support them to report these crimes, rebuild their lives and stay safe, while we do even more to ensure its perpetrators are brought to justice.
 
“With the support and expertise of partner organisations, we want to make sure children who witness or experience abuse at home get the help they need and do not grow up thinking violence is normal or acceptable.
 
“Breaking the cycle of violence and preventing victims from becoming perpetrators means identifying abuse at the earliest opportunity and working together, as a community, to intervene.”
 
Islington has a variety of universal, community-based and specialist services to prevent and address physical and psychological violence against women and girls, provided by a range of local authority, health and criminal justice agencies as well as by voluntary and community sector organisations.
 
The council’s new strategy is supported by the provision of specialist services, including recovery groupwork for parents and children, clinics dealing with female genital mutilation and healthy relationships programmes in local schools.
 
For more information about Islington Council’s new strategy for tackling violence against women and girls, please see: http://bit.ly/2k1XNqQ

For more information contact:

Eugene Grant
Senior Media Officer
0207 527 2530
eugene.grant@islington.gov.uk

Notes to editors

Islington’s new multi-agency strategy for tackling violence against women and girls is based around five organising principles – five ‘P’s:

1. Prevention and early intervention
2. 
the Provision of effective services
3. 
a strong Partnership approach
4. 
addressing Perpetrator behaviour
5. 
responding to the complex Pressures on individuals

About domestic violence:
  • Some 20 per cent of children in the UK have been exposed to domestic violence.
  • In 90 per cent of domestic violence incidents in family households, children were in the same room or the next room.
  • Around 62 per cent of children in households where domestic violence is happening are also directly harmed.
  • One woman is killed every three days in England and Wales by a current or former partner.
  • One in four women in England and Wales will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.
  • In Islington in 2015 the police recorded 2,260 incidents of domestic violence, the vast majority of them perpetrated against women. 
 
For more on the impact of domestic violence on children, click here: https://www.unicef.org/media/files/BehindClosedDoors.pdf.