A SERVICE run by Barnardo’s Cymru has been praised for helping hundreds of South Wales families affected by domestic abuse to create safer, happier homes.

The charity’s Opening Closed Doors service is funded by the Home Office and provides support for the whole family - adult and child victims and perpetrators.

The service has supported families across Newport, Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Monmouth and Caerphilly. More than 80 per cent of children and young people have better emotional health and wellbeing since being supported by the service.

An evaluation by the Institute of Public Care (IPC) said 81 per cent of the adults who took part also had better mental and emotional wellbeing and had improved their parenting and family relationships.

Barnardo’s Cymru staff who have had to develop the service online during the pandemic were described as "highly skilled and motivated" workers who helped families feel safe and able to share their experiences. By opening up and engaging, families have been able to make real changes, said the IPC.

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The service works with children and young people for 10 weeks, helping them to recover from trauma and learn skills to express themselves and keep themselves safe.

Mothers who have been victims of abuse are helped to manage their anxieties, build confidence and self-esteem, improve their parenting skills and develop support networks.

Male perpetrators are supported over 20 weeks to develop skills to change their behaviour while recognising the impact of abuse on their families. One of them said: "The Barnardo’s workers were very caring. They understand us. She told me I’m not a bad guy – I’ve just made mistakes."


Levels of domestic abuse have risen have risen during the pandemic making the service more important than ever.

One mother said: "Things escalated in the home. Lockdown made things worse for me." Another said: “In lockdown he was abusing my daughter.”
Half the children whose case files were examined by the IPC had been de-escalated from 'child protection' to 'care and support plan', or 'care and support plan' to nothing by the end of the intervention.