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Project start date: October 2017

We (London Borough of Newham) were awarded up to £2.6m to develop a programme that protects and sustains effective change for children affected by domestic abuse. Working directly with children, survivors and abusive adults to improve safety and resilience for families, we will use systemic and therapeutic approaches to improve family functioning, emphasising the importance of children’s learning as a key way to improve future life chances.

Project Summary


Domestic abuse is a primary factor in a high proportion of social care cases. It has a long-lasting effect on children, which can manifest in unresolved trauma and anxiety, delinquent and offending behaviour and in some cases gang activity. It has also been found to be a key contributor to entry to care and placement instability. Currently social work practice regarding domestic abuse does not make children’s voices central to safety planning, effectively engage adults who have committed abuse, or take a whole family approach. This means it lacks effectiveness in achieving sustainable change.

Newham plans to revamp and re-focus social care to support its practitioners, build greater safety for families wanting to stay together or separate, and empower children to achieve their potential.

The funding will:

Newham will use the funding to recruit a team of domestic abuse pathfinders, teachers and family therapists, who will  work with vulnerable children and young people, and their parents. These practitioners will model best practice and inject capacity into children’s social care.

Project contact details

Shema Begum

Programme manager

Project evaluators

Cordis Bright

Project partners

Kingston University

Safe Lives

Institute of Family Therapy

Dr Arlene Vetere

Jan Cooper

Professor Alan Jenkins

Ben Levinson (Kensington Promary School)

Ian WIlson (Little Ilford Secondary School)


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