Following increasing domestic abuse cases during the COVID-19 lockdowns, Beacon Victim Care has identified urgent gaps in provision for local families.
Where child-on-parent violence (CPV) had occurred, prior to the Family Hub, Beacon was only able to support the parent. As the leading service in Hertfordshire for victims of crime, Beacon recognised that often the parents were in desperate need of support for their child during this time of crisis.
In a report released by researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Manchester, 70% of parents, who have experienced child-on-parent violence, saw an increase in violent episodes during lockdown. There were also reports of an increase in severity of violence, and more pressure on social services as a result.
Addressing the gap in support, the Beacon Family Hub will include group parent programmes, one-to-one support for children and parents, and restorative interventions for the whole family.
The Beacon Family Hub pilot is a result of Ministry of Justice funding aimed at reducing future youth offending and the demand on Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) and children’s services.
Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, David Lloyd, says:
“In Hertfordshire domestic abuse was the only crime type to see a rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have always pledged to put victims at the heart of everything my office does, and this initiative is yet another way in which help will be offered to those affected by crime or those living in fear.”
Beacon Victim Care were concerned that in the justice system, the focus is too often on an offender and a conviction, and victims are acknowledged as a secondary concern. Particularly in relation to children committing harm in the home, the situation is often complicated.
Beacon’s Head of Service, Rebecca Bayley, says:
“Restorative approaches and early intervention are essential to address serious violence perpetrated by children and young people. There must be early intervention and a restorative approach.
“In child-on-parent violence, it’s not enough to just support the parents when parents’ primary concern is usually regarding their child. We’re looking forward to sharing the impact that the Beacon Family Hub will have on the families we support and on local services.”