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Children's Services

Support and advice for parents and families

Legal advice

The County Council cannot provide legal advice to members of the public. You are advised to consult a solicitor or your local Citizen's Advice Bureau.

Bereavement

Bereavement affects families and children in many ways, and can lead to a range of issues at home and at school.

There are several organisations that offer help and support to children who are suffering from bereavement.  Some have helplines for children or adults; some have local support groups; some have useful resources or activities for children on their websites.

 

Teenage pregnancy

Hampshire Teenage Pregnancy Partnership

  • Prevention - including sex and relationships education, contraception and sexual health services and support for young women who think they may be pregnant
  • Reintegration and Support - including appropriate childcare, housing, education, employment or training and individual support packages for teenage parents.

For information on any aspect of the above work email teenagepregnancy@hants.gov.uk.

Further information can also be found at Get it on.

 

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is:

  • Being threatened or physically or sexually assaulted by someone you live with
  • Controlling or aggressive behaviour
  • Any kind of physical, sexual or emotional abuse within all kinds of intimate relationships
  • Often used to maintain power and control over another person

What can I do about it?

If you are in an abusive relationship, there are three important steps you can take.

1. Recognise that it is happening to you.

Domestic violence may include:

  • Physical assault, sexual abuse, rape or threats

  • Destructive criticism, pressure tactics, disrespect, breaking trust, isolation, harassment

  • An abuser offering ‘rewards’ if certain conditions are met

Some abusers try to persuade their partners that the abuse won’t happen again.  But however persuasive they seem, the violence usually gets worse over time.

2. Accept that you are not to blame.

It is not easy to accept that a loved one can behave so aggressively.  Because you can’t explain your partner’s behaviour, you may assume that you are to blame.  You are not.  No-one deserves to be assaulted, abused or humiliated, least of all by a partner in a supposedly caring relationship.  It is your abuser’s behaviour which needs to change – there is no excuse.

Remember – domestic violence is a crime.

3. Get help and support

  • The most important thing you can do is tell someone.

  • You may decide quickly and easily to ask for help.  

  • Or you may find the process is long and painful as you try to make the relationship work and stop the violence, and struggle against the practical and emotional reasons for staying in an abusive relationship.

  • Most people try to find help a number of times before getting what they need.

  • Even after leaving the relationship there may still be a risk.

  • Never be afraid to ask for help again.

  • In an emergency, call the police by dialling 999.

How can I be protected from domestic violence?
  • You may be able to get a court order against the abuser, to help stop the behaviour or, in some cases, prevent the abusive person from entering your home.
  • If you need to leave home and have nowhere else to go, contact your local district council’s emergency homelessness service, who may be able to find you temporary accommodation.  You may be able to claim benefits – contact the Benefits Agency for advice.
What about the children?
  • Children may be injured or abused or at risk of accidental injury.
  • They often suffer indirectly even when they are not abused themselves.
  • Children are often more aware of the abuse than their parents realise.
  • Your abuser may threaten that if you leave or tell anyone about the violence, your children will be taken away from you.  Children’s Services will not take children away for this reason.
  • If you fear your partner will abduct your children, you should get advice as soon as possible.
  • Contact a solicitor or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for further advice on parental responsibility; where children should live; who they should have contact with; changing schools and related problems.
  • (Factsheet from the Royal College of Psychiatrists on the effects of domestic violence on children.)
How can I help a friend who is experiencing domestic violence?
  • Most importantly, make sure they are safe. This is the number one priority.
  • Be understanding. Explain that there are many people in this situation. Acknowledge that it takes strength to trust someone enough to talk about the abuse. Allow them time to talk, and don’t push them to give too much detail if they don’t want to.
  • Do not criticise the abuser as it will put the person off telling you any more.
  • Be supportive. Be a good listener, and encourage them to express their hurt and anger.
  • Let them make their own decisions. If they aren’t ready to leave the relationship, this is their decision.
  • Ask if they have suffered physical harm. Offer to go with them to hospital if they need to go. If they want to report the assault to the police, help them to do this.
  • Give them information on the help which is available. Look at the options together. Go with them to visit a solicitor if they are ready to take this step.
  • Help them work out safe plans for leaving the relationship. Let them decide what is safe and what is not. Don’t encourage them to follow any plans they are not sure about.
  • Offer to let them use your address and phone number for receiving information and messages.
  • Above all, do not put yourself in a dangerous position. For example, do not offer to talk to the abuser about your friend, or let the abuser see you as a threat to their relationship.
Leaving safely
  • Have some money saved in case you need to use a taxi or bus.
  • If you don’t have a mobile, find somewhere you can quickly and safely use the phone should you need to.
  • Take important documents such as your marriage and birth certificate, any court orders, passport, benefit and bank books, and health records.
  • Have a small bag already packed with an extra set of keys for the house and car should you need to leave in an emergency. You may prefer leaving this with a trusted friend.
  • If you choose to leave, try to take your children with you.
  • Take essential medicines that you and your children may need.
  • Leave when it is safe to do so. If you later discover that you have left something essential behind, you can always arrange for a police escort so that you can return for it.
 

Parental contact

Hampshire County Council does not get involved in parental contact arrangements with divorced or separated parents, unless there is a child protection issue or the child is in the local authority's care.

There are several centres around Hampshire which can provide supervised parental contact if this is required: National Association of Child Contact Centres' website.

Download a leaflet on parental contact from the Cafcass website (PDF format).

For legal advice on parental contact issues, please contact your local Citizens' Advice Bureau.

 

 

Contact us

Telephone: 0845 603 5620

Email: childrens.services@hants.gov.uk

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