What is the problem?
One in five children in the UK experience domestic abuse and this can have a profound impact on the rest of their lives. Babies are particularly affected, while they are in the womb and until the age of two. The stress of domestic abuse affects the development of their brains and bodies. Babies who experience this sort of adversity are more likely to experience mental health issues, to struggle at school, to become involved in substance misuse and criminal behaviour and to experience domestic abuse or be abusive themselves in later life - continuing the cycle of poor outcomes and lost opportunity across generations.
For Baby’s Sake aims to bring an end to domestic abuse and give babies the best possible start in life. It is the UK’s first whole family change programme which starts in pregnancy, continues until the baby is aged two and works with both mother and father, whether or not they are a couple when they join the programme or subsequently. Working with expectant parents early in the pregnancy harnesses their motivations and offers them a chance to make changes that last, for them and their baby. The programme works therapeutically with parents. The material they cover and the relationship they build with their practitioners enables parents to process feelings about their past, especially their own childhoods, and empowers them to take responsibility for themselves and enjoy caring for their baby.
For Baby’s Sake is an evidence-based response to domestic abuse, trauma and what babies need during the first 1001 days from conception to age two.
The final report of the independent evaluation of For Baby’s Sake, published in May 2020, has found that the programme ‘fills an important gap in provision’ through its ‘unique approach’ which overcomes key limitations of existing domestic abuse interventions. The in-depth evaluation was led by King’s College London and involved academics from University of Warwick, University of Central Lancashire, University of Cambridge and McMaster University, Canada.
The evaluation covers the operation of For Baby’s Sake during the prototype phase in Hertfordshire and London from 2015-2019 and includes evidence from practitioners, stakeholders and a sample of parents who agreed to be interviewed during the course of the evaluation.