Helping teachers to spot domestic abuse

Published by Women’s Aid, the Domestic Abuse Report is a series that brings together the most comprehensive set of data on domestic abuse in the country.

According to the latest report, over 90% (91%) of respondents currently experiencing domestic abuse said the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted them in at least one way. Of those women living with their abuser during lockdown, 61% said the abuse had worsened. More than two-thirds (68%) said they felt they had no one to turn to during lockdown. As the report points out, this is “A perfect storm”.

The report also reveals how abusers have used the pandemic as a tool for abuse – to increase fear and anxiety. 67% of women responding who were currently experiencing abuse said that COVID-19 had been used as part of the abuse they suffered in one or more ways.

Building s training programme for schools in South West Surrey

With teachers working on the frontline following the lockdown period, at South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service we felt it was essential that they were aware of the impact that COVID-19 and the lockdown is having on victims and their children.  We wanted  schools to have the opportunity to receive remote domestic abuse training via live video links. Our aim was to raise awareness of domestic abuse and help staff to develop an increased understanding of the matter. With these aims in mind, Abbie, Senior Children’s Outreach Worker, developed a training package to be delivered during lockdown via Zoom. We looked at the true cost of domestic abuse (including the challenges a DA situation faces during COVID 19), an understanding on how children and families may present and how to respond appropriately. Each session took around 90 minutes, with the opportunity for Q and A. In total, Abbie has  trained 179 school staff across Guildford and Waverley.

Feedback received from teachers

Following each training session, participants were asked to complete a short survey. Our aims of this project were reflected in the questions and the results were as follows:

Q1. Do you feel you have an increased understanding of domestic abuse and where to go for help?

96% answered YES

Q2. Do you feel you have an increased understand of the impact domestic abuse has on children?

94% answered YES

Q3. Do you feel you have an increased awareness of the challenges being faced by both services and victims during/following the COVID-19 lockdown?

99% answered YES.

Comments about the training

“Thank you so much for the training you delivered to us on Friday it was so useful and especially beneficial in these current circumstances. I have had so much positive feedback from members of staff and I wanted to share that with you. Everyone found it incredibly useful and informative and found you so easy to listen to and well informed and resourceful. One of our longest standing experienced teachers said it is the best training she has ever heard delivered on DA in her 33 years working for Surrey so a high accolade. I found it really helpful for me as a reminder and update and so good to know all the staff have shared this and have such a good understanding now.

Thank you once again for taking the time to share all this information with us the whole staff cohort now have a really good understanding of DA and the signs to look out for.”

Stoughton Infants School


Thank you so much for providing the DA training. Staff feedback was that they found the session ‘emotionally hard going’ but that it was very beneficial and will support them in spotting the signs both now and when we reopen fully in September. Your delivery was excellent and really enabled us to have a clear understanding of the issue.”

Waverley Abbey C of E Junior School.


“I have just completed the Domestic Abuse training with Abbie P… It was an excellent course, very well presented, with good mix of talking, slides and videos.  Abbie was exceedingly engaging and inclusive with her approach.

The course covered the subject very well, and it was indeed very thought provoking.

It has made me re visit a couple of my families, in doing some further reflection work.  In line with this thought I rang Abbie after the course, she was so helpful, listened to all I had to raise, and then forwarded me some additional information to support my role.”

Home school link worker Haslemere


“Thank you for the training. Our staff found it useful and have already been emailing ideas to the rest of the staff. One idea they discussed was about having a small world house with people to ‘play’ with during the day. Staff would then be able to listen out for concerns in their play.”

Onslow Infant School


 “I thought Abbie’s training was great – I can see why the students engage so well with her!”

 “Excellent training at the right time for us.”

 “Thank you for organising the training this afternoon – it was really interesting and gave us the information we needed at this time.”

Staff at Broadwater School


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