Home abuse summit focuses on young

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BREAKING the cycle of domestic abuse and its potentially devastating impact on children will be tackled at a leading conference in Wigan borough this week.

A series of presentations by leading experts will feature during the one-day conference, The Impact of Domestic Abuse on Children, which is being hosted by Wigan Council, children’s charity Barnardo’s, regional family law firm Stephensons Solicitors and The Freedom Programme.

A provocative play, aimed at bringing the issue of domestic abuse in the home to life, will be a prominent feature of the conference at Leigh Sports Village and will be delivered by the Certain Curtain Theatre Company. It involves demonstrating the impact of domestic abuse on a mother and her two teenage children. It will show the cycle of abuse from one generation to another and how labelling children has far reaching effects.

The play is said to be an essential experience for anyone working in the field of safeguarding children. Mockingbird High has been described as “a compelling, lyrical exploration of the devastating impact of domestic violence on young people and family relationships.”

Up to 200 professionals who work with children and families affected by domestic abuse are expected to attend. Though not an exhaustive list, it will be relevant to housing managers, social workers, family support workers, health visitors, family solicitors, those working in the family justice system, neighbourhood policing teams, probation services, family liaison teams, CAFCASS members, PCTs, mental health workers, victim support teams, counsellors, teachers and homelessness prevention teams.

The event on Friday will also feature a victim’s personal insight, an overview of Wigan Council’s domestic abuse strategy and a legal perspective by leading family law expert, Frances Heaton QC.

Greater Manchester Police’s Public Protection Department will speak about Clare’s Law and the right to ask for information about a partner’s history of domestic violence, while Pat Craven, of the Freedom Programme, will talk about female victims and introduce attendees to “the dominator.”

Mike Devlin, managing partner of the Family law department at Stephensons, said: “The overriding aim is to promote a ‘multi-agency’ approach to domestic abuse in our region. The calibre of the experts who are speaking at this conference make it an absolute must for the regions’ professionals, who like us, work with children and adult victims of domestic abuse every day to seek positive outcomes.”

Mark Lee, director of Barnardo’s North West, said: “This conference is a positive step forward in terms of raising awareness of domestic abuse and we’re proud to be a part of it.”