Sophia’s two children, Cara (8) and Nicola (7) were referred to me following a serious incident of domestic violence that had taken place within the family. The girls had witnessed their father physically attacking Sophia in a public place. Both girls had suffered minor injuries during the incident, but it became apparent that their mental scars were deeper than their physical ones. Since the incident both girls had visibly withdrawn, and they were anxious about their father turning up at the school. It was clear that they needed support at school to deal with the psychological repercussions of the incident.
I worked with Cara and Nicola’s teachers to ensure they kept a close eye on the girls, and every day I would speak to Sophia after school to let her know how the children were getting on in class. The girls were already receiving professional counselling outside of school, but they still found it very difficult to leave their mother at the school gate. I met the girls every morning to take them to class and supported them when they were feeling emotional or fearful.
Sophia was often tired and emotionally overwhelmed. She spent much of her time travelling to various appointments with services, so I did all I could to take the weight off her shoulders. I acted as a link between the girls’ teachers and Sophia, passing on updates and information from both sides, and made sure that Sophia was reassured that the school were supporting the girls’ well being.
I applied to the SHS Welfare Fund to help Sophia with the costs of taking the girls away for the weekend. Having the opportunity to escape to the countryside and spend some quality time together had a huge impact on the Cara and Nicola’s confidence and happiness and gave Sophia some much-needed relief. On their return, the girls loved talking about the cooking and craft activities they did over the weekend. Sophia was thrilled to see them so happy.
Over time, Sophia became less anxious about how the girls were coping at school. She could see that I was ensuring the girls were supported at school and she knew that they were being well looked after. Gradually, the girls became less tearful at school and found it easier to leave their mother to go into school in the morning. Although this was obviously a very difficult time for the two girls, their school attendance didn’t suffer. I fear that without my support it would have been very difficult for Sophia to get the girls to school on a daily basis. Now, the girls’ usual cheeriness has returned and they are thoroughly enjoying school again.
*All names have been changed