26th October 2021: Belfast and Lisburn Women’s Aid have today launched a powerful animation which depicts and articulates the real-life experiences of children living with domestic violence and abuse in Northern Ireland over the past 18 months.
The animation, which was funded by Belfast City Council, comes off the back of stark headlines from the release of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People report ‘A New and Better Normal: Children and Young People’s Experiences of the Covid-19 Pandemic’ in August of this year.
In the release of this report, the NI Children’s Commissioner stated that “A lot of children…at risk of abuse became more vulnerable when new emergency laws were introduced to limit the support and protection they required”.
In the report itself, it is stated that “In viewing the pandemic through a child protection lens, the restrictions can be understood as providing greater opportunity for abusers to exert control over and to harm children and to restrict the involvement of others in their lives.”
The report goes on to express that “Understanding that safety and stability for children, whether or not they are subject to formal child protection measures, is often embedded across a full range of daily and weekly routines, contacts and activities, of which schools are one vital element, and many of which will have been removed or significantly modified during the pandemic is critically important.”
Belfast & Lisburn Women’s Aid’s animation highlights the ways that domestic abuse, isolation and lockdowns have compounded to make life be and feel very tough for children, altering everything they’ve ever known in an already unsafe home. It also draws attention to the unique services available for children and their mums via Women’s Aid in Belfast & Lisburn as well as other groups across Northern Ireland.
Women’s Aid’s Children’s Services Co-Ordinator Harriet Long said “The strict lockdowns and school closures in Northern Ireland have had a tough impact on children living with domestic abuse. The loss of routine, safe and happy spaces, friendships and contact with adults outside of home was difficult for everyone, but even more so for children that needed school, social spaces and time alone with mum to rest and recover from explosions, control and violence at home.
We wanted an animation that would capture the voices and stories of children as well as direct children and their mums to us for support. It is an incredibly moving collection of voices and perspectives, and we hope it will help children and their mums feel understood and raise awareness that support is available for them in their area.”
The private launch of the animation at the Strand Arts Centre on Tuesday 26th October presents an opportunity for activists, educators and survivors to come together to discuss the issues surrounding the pandemic, children and domestic abuse, as well as celebrating the dedication of those involved in commissioning and creating the piece.
Watch the animation now below.
For enquiries about the animation or our children’s services please contact our Children’s Services Co-Ordinator Harriet Long via email:
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