Southern Daily Echo – LINX domestic abuse project planned for Southampton schools – 9 June 2021
A DOMESTIC abuse charity based in Southampton has secured funding to launch an award-winning project in the city. Charity Hampton Trust’s project, LINX is designed to support 13-17 year olds who have experienced domestic abuse. This includes witnessing abuse, physical, verbal or sexual abuse, emotional neglect, parental separation, mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug use or imprisonment.
The funding comes from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and will first be launched in two schools in Southampton. These schools will be identified based on the level of safeguarding needs. It is hoped the project will be able to lessen the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health issues in young people.
According to a survey by YOUNG MiNDS carried out at the beginning of this year, 67% of 12-25 year olds believed that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health. In January, the NSPCC revealed that referrals to agencies in the South East about children living with domestic abuse increased by more than 60% during the pandemic. Between April and December last year, 1,174 referrals were made to the police and other agencies in the South East. This represents a 63% increase compared to the first three months of last year.
Debbie Willis Children and Young Peoples Domestic Abuse Services Manager at Hampton Trust said: “In the UK, before the coronavirus crisis, many schools were already struggling with the high prevalence of negative issues associated with adverse childhood experiences.
“A year on these issues have been amplified and are affecting more young people than ever before.
Organisers hope that they will be able to gain further funding and expand.
Ms Willis said: “We are hoping to partner with a university to ensure a robust and independent evaluation of the work that takes place.
“We will use the evaluation as a springboard for further funding, in a bid to offer LINX in more schools and other educational sites across Southampton and Hampshire.”
To support the roll-out of the project in the two schools, the charity will be recruiting a Children and Young Persons Practitioner.