Why do young fathers, who have been in abusive relationships, need a specialised Caring Dads programme?
Teenage domestic abuse is a huge issue. It’s also massively under reported. Research shows that 1 in 5 teenagers has been physically abused by their partner. (Barter 2009.)
Our own records show, over a quarter of the young parents we work with say there are issues of domestic abuse. Our team’s experience, when we get to know the young people, is that the figure is much higher with it affecting three in four of these relationships.
Getting young dads to change their attitude and behaviour towards domestic abuse requires different approaches. What works with older dads won’t necessarily work with younger ones, whose life experiences and expectations are very different.
What makes our programme unique?
Designed for young dads - Whilst we don’t change the format of the programme, we make sure the programme materials – from images to situations - reflect the experience of young men. We also make sure they fit the cultural background of the group.
The earlier the better - Getting in there early with younger fathers can make a huge difference to everyone’s lives, especially their children. Their children are most often babies or under one. It’s our chance to stop the cycle of trauma and adversity before it becomes ingrained.
Working with birth mothers to promote co-parenting – Different team members work very closely with the young birth mothers, giving us a better understanding of the true situation.
Protecting future partners and children - Young relationships tend to be more volatile. Young dads may go on to have new partners, and new children. Intervening now means these future relationships can be free from domestic abuse, warm, loving and healthy from the start.
Dedicated support – Our Caring Dads programme offers a mixture of groups and intensive 1 to 1 support. We spend much more time working with each father and our work is tailored to their individual needs.
We’re experienced in working with young parents - Working with young people, especially young parents, requires different level of expertise and understanding. Young parents who can be notoriously difficult to engage with. They have often feel judged and have had bad experiences of authority figures. Our experience, expertise and reputation means that we can build a relationship built on trust and understanding which in turn uncovers deeper truths about the situation.
We adapt to local conditions - In Lambeth the high level of violence against girls and women is linked to high numbers of gangs. We plan services around possible gang affiliations and postcodes in order to reach as many parents as possible.
What expertise do we have?
St Michael’s Fellowship has worked with young dads (under 25) in Lambeth for over 10 years. We employ specialist young father’s workers to support these young men who often otherwise have very little or no financial, practical or emotional support, even when their needs are high.
Young fathers are often demonised by the media and we’ve done a lot to try and show that with the right support their lives, and the lives of their children, can be turned around.
They become fathers whilst still young themselves and may have no idea about parenting or child development. We know our Caring Dads programme can change that. With the right work and by involving the right people the trajectory of the
For more information about our Caring Dads programme visit our website or contact our head office 020 8835 9570
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