Children And Young People
Kiran Support Services also supports children within the refuge who have been exposed to or experienced domestic violence both directly or indirectly.
Through observing and supporting children from such backgrounds over the past 26 years, Kiran Support Services understands and acknowledges the impact of these traumatic environments, from the social and emotional implications they cause, as well as the barriers these create to accessing academic learning and building relationships with ease. Such children find it immensely difficult to trust and feel a sense of security, their lives have been turned upside down as they end up in circumstances that are out of their control. Kiran Support Services focuses on creating a safe environment, listening to their needs and providing a space for their emotional processing and regulation through an empathic approach.
Kiran Support Services has found an increase in the number of children who have a formal diagnosis, educational needs (including Educational Health Care Programme, Individual Education Plans) varying from social and communication difficulties, speech and developmental delays; consequently the support that Kiran Support Services provides to these vulnerable children is more important than ever.
Child A: Child A is 5 years old, she came to the refuge with her mother who was fleeing domestic violence from an arranged marriage that she had endured for over 10 years. The mother was a victim to verbal, physical and psychological abuse that she experienced from her husband and his family.
Upon moving to the UK she was immediately made to feel unwelcome, threatened, isolated and wrong for anything she did; negative comments were made on a frequent basis surrounding her abilities to do things. She was criticized for her cooking, cleaning, and the manner in which she was raising her daughter; her every move was accounted for and she was not allowed out without a sufficient reason.
The abuse continued during and after her pregnancy. The impact of the abuse on her daughter became immediately apparent through observations and one-to-one sessions where she displayed the following:
– Little/ no eye contact
– Shaken/ disturbed by loud or sudden noises
– Hyper- vigilant to her surroundings
– Stunned facial expression
– Wide eyes
– Disassociation when asked questions
– Hesitant to communicate
It was evident that the trauma Child A had experienced reflected in her physiological and social functioning. In addition to this, she presented with emotional difficulties in processing what had happened; for instance, the mother informed us that her daughter would express frustration towards her dad: ‘Daddy is naughty, I am not his friend because he hit you’, which would be soon followed after by, ‘Mummy, do you not love daddy? Are you and daddy not friends? Why?’ Time and time again conflicts such as these present themselves where children are confused and torn between their emotions as they attempt to make sense of the chaos and whereby the fantasy of what they would like is shattered by the reality.
Below is a short extract from a one-to-one session using art materials and toys:
Child A began by speaking about going to the seaside with her dad, she picked up a toy worm which she placed on a board and said, ‘this is my daddy, daddy is crying in the sea’. A little while after she picked up another two worms and put them on the board, ‘this is me and my mummy together with daddy’.