Written by Terri Simpson
AWARE is Angus Women’s Aid’s specialist domestic abuse service for children and young people, under the age of 18, who have experience of domestic abuse either at home or in their own intimate relationships.
Domestic abuse is a pattern of behaviour that implants fear and is used by abusers to maintain control. Children and young people who live with an abuser may suffer from tactics like micro management of their everyday life to maintain this control; as well as many others.
For children and young people living with domestic abusers, settings outside the home can provide a safe space. For example, school, nursery, community settings, sports or after-school clubs.
However, the closure of these settings in the pandemic removed these safe spaces, leaving children and young people trapped for extended periods of time with their abuser with few or no opportunities to seek help.
The children and young people of AWARE wanted to do something about this.
AWARE sourced funding from the Angus Wellness Services Fund, allowing them to co-produce two domestic abuse pieces with children and young people in the service and Media co-op.
It was important to AWARE that the children and young people were involved and participating in the creative process. For AWARE:
“Children and young people have a right to participate and have a voice in decisions which directly affect them. It is the right of every child and young person that their best interest must always come first, they have the right to life, survival and development and their views must be considered and taken into account in all matters affecting them, but it is not enough to have human rights, we must also be able to put them into effect.”
The children and young people involved in this project all have experience of domestic abuse in their own lives and were involved in every decision. It was important that these pieces voiced the experiences of children and young people, speaking out against domestic abuse and to be heard by other children, young people, professionals and communities.
These two #Hearmyvoice domestic abuse animation pieces were created for the children and young people of Angus by children and young people of Angus. These animations highlight some of the ways children and young people experience domestic abuse, the impact of domestic abuse and direct them to AWARE for support.
The first animation was created with children under the age of 13. It is focused around their experiences of living with domestic abuse.
The second animation was created with young women under the age of 18, experiencing domestic abuse in their own relationships.
Those involved in the project had very positive things to say about working with AWARE on these pieces. They think that it was very important for these animations to be made. They want to spread awareness of what domestic abuse is and which behaviours are acceptable by adults and which are not.
Young people shared why they decided to get involved with the project stating they wanted to help others ‘like me’ and that it is important children and young people know what domestic abuse is, and the many forms it is, it’s not ‘just hitting’.
The children and young people involved with the project think that it will have a positive effect on other children and young people in Angus.
“It will help them to feel better.”
“It will give them a voice.”
“It will encourage them to speak out.”
“It will show them they are not alone and there is help out there.”
“They will know they have the right to be safe.”
Many of the people who collaborated with the children and young people on these projects also shared their thoughts:
“I cannot begin to explain how proud, inspired and motivated I am by all the children and young people who took part in this project. There is nothing like these two animation pieces out there by CYP, for CYP! These animations are authentic and are a vital peer-to-peer message that we hope reaches CYP affected by domestic abuse. CYP who desperately need to know they are not alone and there is help like AWARE out there!”
“I sit with children and young people every day who have been affected by hurting in their homes and I think about all those who don’t know there is a service for them. With these animations, I can only hope they see them and feel that if and when the time is right that they can reach out or someone can reach out for them. I hope that they see they are not alone! I am so grateful to the children and young people involved and you should know that the pieces you gave of yourself will help many more young people in Angus for a very long time to come”.
“I am very fortunate in my role to work with such inspirational young people. For any young person experiencing domestic abuse, at home or in their own intimate relationship they will hopefully see there are people to talk to and that it should never be something they face alone. I am very grateful to be able to work with such amazing children and young people”.
For help or more information please contact AWARE: