Ar Trac – Building and Rebuilding Positive Parent-Child Relationships
The Ar Trac programme was launched in April 2020 to provide support to children and young people aged 5-16 who are exhibiting difficulties with their family and peer relationships, having experienced domestic abuse.
The programme is funded by Welsh Government Sustainable Social Services Third Sector Grant for 2020 to 2023 and is the first project of its kind in Wales, bringing together five specialist domestic abuse agencies to provide a consortium-led approach to supporting children and young people. The organisations involved include Cyfannol Women’s Aid, Calan DVS, Cardiff Women’s Aid, Gorwel and West Wales DAS. Ar Trac is currently being delivered bi-lingually across 10 counties in Wales: Powys, Ceredigion, North Pembrokeshire, Gwynedd and Anglesey.
Interventions include age-appropriate group and family work and 1:1 support, drawing on research, best practice, the experience and expertise of the consortium partners, and the voices of children and young people, to ensure support meets individual needs.
Ar Trac and Calan DVS
At Calan DVS, we have utilised trauma-informed research, our expertise as workers in the field of domestic abuse support and drawn upon our varied experience as educators, health professionals and working within practical youth work to formulate a programme which offers positive, practical support and advice.
Most importantly, we have asked our children and young people and their parents what they feel is important in healing. The programme continues to evolve accordingly, based upon their feedback giving them a sense of mastery and agency.
As a result, we continue to develop a tailor-made Ar Trac programme of group work for parents/caregivers and their children aged 7-11 years. The programme is now being further developed to be offered either one-to-one sessions or remotely via online platforms. This approach both future proofs our delivery of the programme in terms of Covid19 as well as overcoming problems of rurality.
Key Components of Our Ar Trac Programme
The Calan DVS Ar Trac pilot programme covers the areas of Neath Port Talbot and Powys with the following key components of positive parent-child relationships including:
- Communicating the child’s view and parent/caregiver’s role in relational repair
- Applying traditional and modern aspects of attachment theories including a secure base, safe haven, trust and consistency and secure attachment throughout the life course
- Exploring Co-regulation and Attunement, keeping children in mind using theory and practical tips
- The importance of mind, brain and body responses through mindfulness, empathy and compassion and sound physical and mental health for both caregiver and child
- Introducing behaviour as a form of communication including practical activities for children and adults using examples from interpersonal, behavioural and psychological science
- Parenting communication skills through connection
- Parenting style by focussing on the idea of balanced parenting
- Take home tips with a focus on making time to play
- Generating SMART objectives by getting participants to pick their battles and own their mistakes
- Promoting consistency through the consideration of complex lives including contact with perpetrators and issues like coercive control
- Relational rupture repair strategies along with serve and return in communication
- Letting children lead through play, decision making and through shared activities.
The Importance of the Ar Trac Programme
Ar Trac is an important relationship building programme for children and young people who have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse. By addressing the difficulties of those affected and building upon the children’s strengths, the project aims to minimise the impact of the abuse and improve physical and mental wellbeing in later life.
It’s estimated that 133,053 children in Wales have experienced or witnessed domestic abuse*. These adverse childhood experiences can have a huge impact on children and young people, but referral options are limited due to the lack of specialist support available.
With direct support provided by each member organisation within the partnership, existing referral routes into these services can be used to develop the programme. These organisations have a profound understanding needs for children and young people who have been affected by domestic violence and so are ideally positioned to deliver the appropriate levels of specialist support.
Contact Calan DVS
You can find out more about the Calan DVS Ar Trac programme here https://www.calandvs.org.uk/en/our-services/support-for-children-and-young-people/ar-trac/
Referrals can be made as follows:
Calan DVS Neath: Tel 01639 633580 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Calan DVS Brecon: Tel 01874 625146 Email email@example.com
*As reported in Welsh Women’s Aid’s publication, Children Matter: Children and Young People Experience Domestic Violence Too (2019) Source