Skip to content

UK Trauma Council collaborates with Refuge to support children and families affected by the trauma of domestic abuse

Intervention will be co-designed with children and parents with lived experience, refuge staff, childhood trauma and domestic abuse experts.


The UK Trauma Council, a project of Anna Freud, has joined forces with the UK's largest domestic abuse organisation, Refuge to help address the impact of trauma* on children and young people affected by domestic abuse.  

The three-year project will see the two charities draw on the latest evidence and research to develop, pilot and roll out an innovative programme to support children, young people and their families. 

Harnessing the expertise of Refuge - the UK’s largest domestic abuse organisation - the lived experience of children and young people and other professionals involved in supporting children after domestic abuse, the project will be delivered in refuges, shelters and other spaces where protective parents, carers and children are following domestic abuse. 

The intervention will be designed with flexibility at its core, to ensure it can be easily adapted to apply to diverse cultures and multiple languages.  

The need for fresh thinking on how to best support children and young people affected by domestic abuse has never been greater. The NSPCC estimates that one in five children have lived with an adult perpetrating domestic abuse and that children abused by parents or carers are almost three times more likely also witness family violence*. 

The three-year project will run until the end of 2026. Throughout the collaboration, the team will work closely with abuse survivors, frontline staff and experts working in childhood trauma and domestic abuse.  

The intervention will be piloted and evaluated, to ensure it is evidence-based and rooted in the experiences and needs of survivors, before its widespread dissemination in 2026.  

David Trickey, UK Trauma Council Co-Director and Consultant Clinical Psychologist said: “This is an opportunity to ensure that children and their protective parents who have experienced domestic abuse receive the very best, evidence-based intervention as early as possible to enhance their recovery and healing.”  

Denise Brown, Refuge’s Interim Director of Service Delivery said: “In 2021 the landmark Domestic Abuse Act vitally recognised children as victims of domestic abuse in their own right, something the sector had long campaigned for. At Refuge we know about the long-term impacts domestic abuse has on children, and it’s essential this doesn’t get overlooked.  

“Children and young people don’t just witness abuse, they live with it, and it can affect every part of their development, especially their wellbeing and mental health.  

“Working in partnership with the UK Trauma Council is a fantastic opportunity to develop and share best practice to support children’s wellbeing and make a real difference in rebuilding their lives following domestic abuse.”  

Anna Freud is a mental health charity that’s been supporting children and young people for over 70 years. It listens to and learns from their diverse voices and integrates this with learnings from its science and practice to develop and deliver mental health care. 

The charity has enshrined its commitment to place children and young people at the heart of all it does in its Participation Strategy - a vow to listen to and learn from the voices of children, young people, parents and carers in all aspects of its work.  

The recruitment of a team of Young Champions – young people with lived experience of mental ill health, has allowed the charity to incorporate their reflections, insights recommendations and challenges into its work.