SWINDON Women’s Aid is launching a new course later this year to help youngsters affected by domestic violence get their lives back on track.

Staff of the Recovery Tool Kit will work with children aged from eight upwards to rebuild their self confidence and develop poisitve attituudes.

Olwen Kelly, director of Swindon Women’s Aid, said: “The effects of witnessing or being subject to abuse can be deep and long-lasting.

“We will be working with the child to help them come to terms with their experiences around domestic abuse and to help them develop positive lifestyle choices and increase self confidence.

“It is also important to teach them about healthy relationships so the cycle does not repeat itself.”

It will come a month or so after the launch of the Recovery Tool Kit for women who are looking to move on after coming out of abusive relationships.

Olwen said: “The key message is that everyone is entitled to equal respect and is in no way responsible for the abuse they have received.

“However, during stressful, psychological damaging times in our lives we can learn ways of coping that, while useful and based on self-protection and minimisation of risk during periods of abuse, can be less helpful when trying to rebuild lives and relationships.

“This course is about moving onto that next level so people can move on with their lives.

“What is important is that anyone who joins the course is ready to move on with their lives. It is not for a woman who has only been out of the relationship for a week.

“We have already run two pilot courses with very high success rates.”

While courses exist elsewhere for those who have been subject to abuse, many of them focus on the perpetrator. whereas the focus of the tool kit is on the abused.

“Abuse can come in many forms so focusing on the perpetrator may help for one form of abuse but not another,” said Olwen.

“The course is designed along psycho-education lines, a term used to describe the education offered to people who have suffered a psychological trauma.

“The theory is that with better knowledge the patient has of their illness, the better the patient can live with their condition.

“We want to put people who have been in abusive relationships to be in a position where they can spot and therefore cope with abuse in future.”

The adult class is for 12 weeks and in group sessions which participants must attend. Call 01793 864984.