Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together (DART) is a 10-week programme for children aged 7-14 years and their mothers, which aims to build and develop the mother and child relationship through joint group work sessions. During these sessions, mums and children will explore what domestic abuse is, how to stay safe, how to build self-esteem and how to deal with their emotions in a constructive way.
Rebecca Faithfull Quinlan, an NSPCC children’s service practitioner, says that many of the children feel angry towards their mother and display behavioural problems: “They don’t understand why mum stayed. One week we look at why mum couldn’t leave and what was trapping her, and the children start to understand. We help them learn strategies to direct their anger in different ways.”
Alison and her youngest child attended DART sessions together. Now, she says, things are a lot calmer. “There are still a few outbursts, but we have learned together how to control them. It hasn’t been easy … but for me there is now a brighter outlook in my life and we have all stuck together as a family.”