Charity spotlight: For Baby’s Sake
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An innovative scheme set up by the Stefanou Foundation to support new parents affected by domestic abuse
Around one in five children in the UK has been exposed to domestic abuse in their home according to the NSPCC*. In response to the evidence about the life-long mental and physical health risks this causes – and why babies are especially affected – the Welwyn GC-based Stefanou Foundation created For Baby’s Sake. The charitable programme is for expectant parents, whether together as a couple or not, who want to bring an end to domestic abuse and create the best possible start in life for their baby.
For Baby’s Sake helps both parents to make the lasting changes they want for themselves and their family. It does not judge mums or dads for what they have done, what they have experienced, or their parenting. Instead, parents are supported to face challenges in their lives and given new ways to handle emotions such as anger and fear. This empowers parents to end hurtful or harmful behaviour that makes them feel scared or bad, so they can feel safe, respected and good about themselves.
The project also helps both mums and dads create a positive future for their baby and any other children in the family. Both parents come to For Baby’s Sake of their own accord during pregnancy and their involvement may last until the baby is two years old. This is a critical time in a child’s life when the brain is developing and important bonds are formed.
One mother described how the programme enabled her to bond with her child, saying, ‘I felt like I was babysitting my baby – now I feel like a real mum’.
Amanda McIntyre, director of the Stefanou Foundation, said the project is an innovation in dealing with domestic abuse: ‘For Baby’s Sake is the first programme in the UK to work with the whole family and to start in pregnancy to break the cycle of domestic abuse. We are thrilled about the difference it is making and excited about the future. If you share our passion and want to help, please do get in touch.’
For Baby’s Sake currently operates in the Hertfordshire boroughs of Stevenage, North Herts and Welwyn-Hatfield. The team welcomes introductions from midwives or other workers, or direct contact from parents. If you or someone you know might benefit from the programme, contact the team on 07702 538080.
Amanda can be contacted directly at email@example.com or on 01707 329472. See the website for further details of the project.
This article is by North Herts Centre for Voluntary Services. There are seven CVS in the county, with hundreds of volunteering opportunities. Go to hertscvs.org for more information.
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*Radford, L. et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today.