Meet Safe AS: Domestic Abuse & Healthy Relationship Support
What is Safe AS?
Safe AS is the children's and young people's organisation that's part of Cardiff Women's Aid. We aim to advocate and support children and young people who have experience or been exposed to domestic abuse.
We help children and young people to understand what domestic violence is in order to help them manage their feelings around this. We do a lot of work on emotional literacy and healthy relationships and we work with organisations to provide a holistic approach to meet the needs of the client.
So you work with victims and possible perpetrators?
We do have a Male IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate) who works with 9-16 year olds on a one-to-one basis, so they could be starting to demonstrate some abusive behaviour but not necessarily be a perpetrator. We have got a new programme up and running soon called Dave's House, which is a rolling program for 17-25 year old males and that looks at healthy relations, domestic abuse, consent, sex in the media and things like that in order to look at domestic abuse and build up skills and knowledge in order to have healthy relationships and manage their emotions appropriately and effectively.
When is Dave's House opening?
It should be open in May 2015.
As well as Dave's House do you have other projects under the Safe AS umbrella?
We also have a S.T.A.R Club, which is a group for 6-12 year olds; it has been created by Children Matter in Welsh Women's Aid and helps children to understand what they've been through, manage their feelings about it and a lot on safety and how to keep themselves safe. It also aims to develop the relationship between the mother and the child again to help them talk about it and develop a positive relationship.
SODA Club is being set up for 13-18 year olds who have been affected by domestic abuse and are self-harming or have thoughts of suicide or have attempted these things. It's a programme that looks at domestic abuse and healthy relationships, our emotions around that and exploring self-harm, what that is, how people use it as a coping mechanism and what self care we can put in place. It's quite a practical programme looking at self-harm, self-care and suicide intervention, so it's giving young people the tools to intervene and supporting one another. It's building on peer support, so it's a closed group rather than open and rolling, and the young people who attend that group will have ongoing peer support through social media forums and such.
It's quite shocking to learn of the link between self-harm and domestic abuse, is there a big demand for such a service in Cardiff?
It's come about from the Child Death Review which highlighted domestic abuse and family breakdowns as key factors in child suicide and self-harm rates. So those early experiences - and if the young person doesn't have the tools to explore their emotions around it - how that can then become self-harm or suicidal thoughts. A link has been identified through different reviews and research that domestic and child abuse does link significantly to self-harm and suicide.
Why's it called SODA Club?
It's an acronym for Survivors of Domestic Abuse.
What about Dave's House?
It's an acronym for Domestic Abuse & Violence Education Service - Helping, Overcoming, Understanding, Supporting & Encouraging. The reason we arrived at this name, as well as being an acronym, is that teenage boys may not want to tell their peers where they're going or not having that pressure on their shoulders to say that I'm going to a programme - instead saying I'm going to Dave's House. It's a common name so there's less questions asked and relieve a lot of pressure and stress on finding an ulterior excuse or explain why.
It's a very clever name. So with all your programmes can young people come direct to you or do they need to be referred in?
We can always take self-referrals, so if a young person rang up (029 2046 0566) and wanted support that would be absolutely fine, we'd just take a referral from them over the phone, just gather as much information as possible regarding their risk and supporting them. We also take referrals from professionals, a paper route which they fill in and send to us, because we do have a waiting list for individual one-to-one support. But because Dave's House is a rolling programme, it's open to everyone so they could just walk in.
What's the best way for a young person to contact you?
We have quite a few ways to get in contact, we have social media (see below) in place where you can just message us, phone 029 2046 0566, text (CWA SAFEAS and your message to 60777), we were thinking about developing an app, we're looking at developing the website so it's a lot easier for a young person to self-refer - that's in progress, it's still under construction.
Do you know when it'll be live?
It shouldn't be long, it's all been designed, it's almost ready.
OK, so we have Dave's House, SODA Club, S.T.A.R Club, is there anything else?
We have our youth prevention worker, who goes into schools to talk about healthy relationships, consent and sexuality, that's called the Learn It Live It programme. It's free for schools, she usually goes in for PSE lessons, that can be really helpful because people are more aware of services that are out there. Sometimes we might get referrals in where they're low-risk as identified on the risk assessment and the youth prevention worker will go into the school and target the whole class in order to show that young person what services are out there to help them.
So, it's not just domestic violence it's about healthy relationships?
Yes. We also have an early years IDVA and they work a lot with parents in order to help them gain the tools and the knowledge that they need in order to appropriately support the child through their experiences.
Beth is a Children & Young Person's IDVA and does the one-to-one support for 0-18 year-olds who have been exposed to or are experiencing domestic abuse and also runs the S.T.A.R Club
Safe AS and Cardiff Women's Aid are all over Twitter:
- Main Safe AS account - @SafeAS_CWA
- Main Cardiff Women's Aid account - @CardiffWAid
- Steph the Safe AS Manager - @SafeAS_Manager
- Rosie from SODA - @SafeAS_SODA
- Chris the Male IDVA - @SafeAS_Male
- Beth (CYP IDVA) is @SafeAS_IDVA
- Sian (CYP IDVA) @SafeAS_Youth
- Suzie (Early Years IDVA) - @SafeAS_EY_IDVA
They're also on Facebook
Safe AS is part of Families First in Cardiff
Want to win a Sprout T-shirt? Fill in theSprout Satisfaction Survey!