MANAGERS at a domestic abuse charity say more than 1,000 city children a year are at high risk of domestic abuse.

The figures show Southampton has "exceptionally high reporting rates for domestic abuse compared to other parts of UK" and that there were 6,149 calls to the police last year to report domestic violence.

Now an appeal to raise cash for Southampton's Women's Aid has been given a national boost.

The charity is appealing for donors through The Big Give Christmas Challenge to help city youngsters.

Any money donated until December 5 will be doubled by The Big Give Christmas Challenge 2017 - the UK's largest match funding campaign.

But managers at SWA say they "desperately" need to reach more local children, with 1,065 children a year in Southampton living with a parent who is at the highest risk of harm from domestic abuse.

A spokesperson said: "Living in a home where there is domestic violence and abuse is harmful for the whole family.

"It can have a serious impact on a child’s behaviour, development and well-being.

"Domestic abuse often also affects the bond between mother, carer or the non-abusing parent, and can make parents feel they can’t cope or lack skills to support their children.

"The impact of domestic abuse can occur even after the abuse ends and can last a very long time".

But they say that taking action to deal with the impact of abuse on children could make a huge difference to a child’s emotional, social and physical wellbeing.

SWA has pioneered a special programme for local primary school children called Safe. Talk. Thrive -a free eight week recovery programme which takes place at school using age appropriate techniques to help re-build self esteem, form emotional resilience and ultimately stay safe.

Manager Linda Haitana said:

“It’s vital we can reach local children who’ve been exposed to domestic abuse in order to aid recovery and to limit long-term emotional harm. Working with primary schools in Southampton we have the perfect platform and a safe place to provide our programmes.

"The prevalence of domestic violence and abuse in Southampton is considered to be a combination of high reporting rates supported by excellent services, police and partner agencies working pro-actively together to encourage reporting, but also historically high incidence of abuse which is often associated with inter-generational experiences, coinciding with deprivation and other social factors."

She added: "SWA is reliant on small grants and donations. Any donations received through The Big Give will be doubled so we’ll be able to reach more children throughout Southampton”.

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