Safety planning for children and young people
So what can you do?
Everyone has the right to be safe from harm and if there's violence in the home it's important that children and young people can stay safe when there is a fight.
It's helpful if the child can tell a friend or adult like a youth worker or a teacher they can trust about the abuse at home. This way, if there's an emergency the child can phone this person and they'll know about what is going on in the home. Make up a code word so that in an emergency the child just has to say the code word and the other person will know that the child needs help. Make sure that the person helping knows the child's address and phone number and that they've agreed what they should do when the child calls.
If one of the children or one of the parents is being abused, the child might want to talk to the parent about it. May be the child hasn't because the child doesn't want to worry them any more. Parents might think that the child doesn't know about domestic abuse or they may not have talked to the child about the abuse because they don't want to worry the child. Talking can make both the child and the parent feel better and they can then look for help and support together.
Finding a safe place
There might be a room in the house where the child feels safe when there's a fight, like their bedroom. If they have brothers and sisters they might all stay together in one room. It's good for the child to stay away from the fight so that they don't get hurt. If the safe place is in a room where there's a phone they can call the police on 999 for help if they need too, or if they have a mobile they can use that, even if they have no credit by dialling 112.
The child might feel they need to leave the house. Having a friend, neighbour or another relative that they can go to if things are not safe at home can be helpful. Some young people also leave a change of clothing there so they can stay a while until it is safe to go home.
Resources for safety planning with children and young people
DA Champions' Guide to Safety Planning (access for Champions only)
The Importance of Safeguarding in Schools, 2019- A useful guide from Online DBS
Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2018- A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children
Support Services for Safety Planning with Young People
ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19 providing phone and website support.
Tel 0800 1111
A website for children and young people with interactive resources to help them understand domestic abuse and where to get help from.