Barnardos: Huge instance of children suffering bullying and domestic abuse

CHILDCARE workers are seeing a “huge instance” of children who are experiencing bullying and domestic violence, a leading children’s charity has said.

Imelda Graham, training co-ordinator with Barnardos, said people who work with children on a regular basis may be familiar with the issues of bullying, domestic abuse and challenging behaviour — but not how to support a child dealing with it.

She said the issues were coming up “more and more” and that if workers were not trained to deal with it, it was difficult for them to know what to do.

In response to this, the charity has launched a training resource designed to help workers — and parents — better support children and young people who are dealing with domestic abuse or bullying.

Ms Graham said the training packs give them the tools to deal with the situation in an educated manner that is supportive of the children with whom they work.

Anne Conroy, national manager of Barnardos’ training service, who spearheaded the production of the three packs, said the issues needed to be addressed. “Take bullying for example, a poll carried about by Barnardos in 2007 found that bullying emerged as the top concern for both parents and children,” she said.

“Furthermore, research into cyber-bullying found that one in seven students had been bullied either via the internet or mobile phones, a frightening statistic. Training is one of the key ways in which Barnardos is tackling these issues.”

Speaking at the launch of the packs, David Coleman, clinical psychologist, said working with children was a rewarding task but it could be onerous and always involves taking significant responsibility.

“It is crucial that adults working directly with children have an awareness of the issues that children can face with things like bullying and domestic violence,” he said.

“Understanding the impact of such stresses on children can give insight into much of their behaviour and can give those working with them avenues for responding to their behaviour with greater empathy.”

The training packs, available from Barnardos, are designed for childcare workers, teachers, trainers, parents, and anyone who is directly involved with children and young people whether it be in a youth club, sports or social setting.

They include all the materials needed to provide a full day of training, including a PowerPoint presentation, comprehensive training notes, session plans, outline agendas, handouts and worksheet samples.

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