We are delighted to share a recording of our webinar held on 17 September 2020, when over 400 delegates joined us for the premiere of our animated film from BAFTA award-winning director, Emma Lazenby.
In this powerful film, parents tell their stories, in their own voices, of what led them into the For Baby’s Sake programme and the life-changing difference it has made to them and their baby.
The event included a discussion on new approaches to breaking the cycle of trauma and domestic abuse in families and giving babies born into dysfunctional and abusive relationships a much more positive start in life.
You can watch the webinar here. Lasting just 60 minutes, you will hear from:
· Stelio Stefanou, Chairman, The For Baby’s Sake Trust
· Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner
· Frank Mullane, CEO of Advocacy After Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) and our first For Baby’s Sake ambassador
· Dr Jill Domoney, Research Clinical Psychologist, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London
· Emma Lazenby, Director of the For Baby’s Sake film
· Amanda McIntyre, CEO, The For Baby’s Sake Trust
All speakers highlighted the lessons from the For Baby’s Sake programme and the value of working with the whole family, and doing so during the precious time when babies are developing, in order to break cycles of domestic abuse and childhood trauma.
In her speech, Amanda McIntyre said that The For Baby’s Sake Trust is calling for the recent amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill currently in Parliament, which recognises children as victims in their own right, to be amended further so it is explicit in covering babies, including those still in the womb. Otherwise, those babies risk being overlooked, despite domestic abuse being particularly harmful to them and often starting in pregnancy.
She also said that the For Baby’s Sake Trust is keen to play a growing role in turning the tide on domestic abuse, through the expansion of its services, including by launching For Baby’s Sake CONNECT, which will provide remote access to the ground-breaking For Baby’s Sakeprogramme to families across the UK who do not yet have the benefit of a local dedicated team in their area.
Please share our video with anyone you feel would be interested. You can find us on Twitter @forbabyssake
The For Baby’s Sake Trust (formerly the Stefanou Foundation) is calling on government, local authorities and charities to look at what new approaches can be taken to break the cycle of domestic abuse, such as the whole-family approach of the pioneering For Baby’s Sake programme which seeks to address the trauma that often sits at the heart of the issue.
As a significant signal of radical change, the Trust wants to see the recent amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill currently in Parliament, which recognises children as victims in their own right, to be amended further so it is explicit in covering babies, including those still in the womb. Otherwise, those babies risk being overlooked, despite domestic abuse being particularly harmful to them and often starting in pregnancy.
The call comes as the Trust launches a powerful new animated film from BAFTA award-winning director, Emma Lazenby, featuring the raw testimony of a mother and father who are on the For Baby’s Sake programme, which works with the whole family to deal with the trauma and complex needs that are so often unaddressed for the parents, breaking the cycle and giving babies born into dysfunctional and abusive relationships a much more positive start in life.
The For Baby’s Sake programme has been running since 2015 and an evaluation of the first four years, led by King’s College London and published in May 2020, identified it as the first programme of its kind to ‘fill an important gap in provision’ through its ‘unique approach’, working with the whole family and starting in pregnancy, when babies need protection and parents are motivated to change.
Stelio Stefanou, Chairman of The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said:
“Trauma in infancy devastates lives and it can start even before a child is born. Left unresolved, it can lead to dysfunctional relationships, domestic abuse and more harm to children and families for generations. It affects the whole family – baby, mother and father. The current prevailing approach to domestic abuse is too narrow, practitioners are effectively being asked to tackle it with one hand tied behind their backs.
“There is another way. The For Baby’s Sake programme empowers expectant parents with what they need to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their baby the best possible start in life, especially by helping them to come to terms with trauma and adversity in their own childhoods. Adopting approaches like this would reduce the burden on our stretched public services, supporting them to really tackle the issue rather than being left to pick up the pieces.
“We have a huge opportunity with the Domestic Abuse Bill going through Parliament at the moment. We have to use this as a chance to challenge the national ambition and move our system from one that primarily manages the fall-out of domestic abuse to truly targeting the trauma that is at the root cause. The alarming rise in domestic abuse during lockdown has made this even more urgent.”
The For Baby’s Sake programme adopts a unique three-way approach, with a specialist working with the father, another working closely with the mother, and both focusing on the overall wellbeing and development of the baby and any other children, starting before the baby is born. As a result, it deals with the entire cycle and history of domestic violence and abuse, identifying and directly addressing the trauma or traumas that lie at the heart of the problem. The end result is both parents play a positive role in raising their child, whether together or apart, turning one, two, three or even more lives around, and breaking the cycle caused by trauma in childhood.
The film was launched at a virtual event on 17 September, supported by a discussion on new approaches to tackling domestic violence, with speakers including Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, and Frank Mullane, CEO of Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) and the newly appointed first ambassador for the For Baby’s Sake programme.
Speaking about the need for new approaches, Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, said:
“With so much concern for those subject to domestic abuse during lockdown, plus the passage of the Domestic Abuse Bill through parliament, we have a once in a generation opportunity to explore and take forward new ways of dealing with this pernicious issue. We owe it to all those affected by domestic abuse to challenge our current thinking and approaches, which is why it so important that we evaluate and learn from programmes like For Baby’s Sake.”
Frank Mullane, Founder and CEO of Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) and an ambassador for the For Baby’s Sake programme, said:
“I am proud to be the first ambassador for the For Baby’s Sake programme which is doing something now about the life chances of babies. It recognises that to give the baby the best chance in life, we have to work with today’s reality. It is a courageous, evidence-based project, breaking the cycle of domestic abuse and it is informed by values that surely most of us share.”
Later this year, the Trust is planning to launch For Baby’s Sake CONNECT, providing remote access to its ground-breaking programme and giving more families the chance to benefit from its pioneering approach to tackling domestic violence.
The programme currently operates in Blackpool, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and west London (Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham).
For Baby’s Sake CONNECT was developed during lockdown, when parents across these four sites kept up their one-to-one sessions with practitioners by phone and video technology, some actually found it easier to work through painful issues in this way and new families continued to join.
Using technology makes it possible to deliver the programme to families located anywhere in the UK, working directly with mothers and fathers and contributing effectively to local multi-agency safeguarding arrangements wherever the parents live. The charity is intending to roll out For Baby’s Sake CONNECT this autumn, using existing resources to engage a small number of families initially, while building on experience and raising additional sources of funding to build capacity. The addition of For Baby’s Sake CONNECT service will reach families that do not yet have the benefit of a dedicated local team and scale up the For Baby’s Sake programme across the UK more rapidly than would otherwise be possible.
On the 17 September we will be hosting a screening of our powerful new animated film from BAFTA award-winning director, Emma Lazenby, showcasing the ground-breaking For Baby’s Sake programme. This animation follows one families journey in their own words.
The animation will be followed by a discussion on new approaches to breaking the cycle of trauma and domestic abuse in families and giving babies born into dysfunctional and abusive relationships a much more positive start in life. It will include contributions from Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner, Frank Mullane, CEO of Advocacy After Domestic Abuse (AAFDA) and Emma Lazenby who collaborated with us closely during the making of this film.
To join us please register on the Eventbrite link below-
For Baby’s Sake, the innovative whole-family programme created by the Stefanou Foundation to tackle the cycle of domestic abuse, is described in a report published on 28 May 2020 as the first of its kind to fill an important gap in provision. The in-depth, independent evaluation of For Baby’s Sake, led by King’s College London, was the result of a four-year study and highlights how the programme’s unique approach, working with the whole family, is overcoming key limitations to responding to domestic abuse.
Professor Louise Howard of King’s College London, who led the evaluation team, said, ‘For Baby’s Sake was developed using the evidence base on domestic abuse, pregnancy, trauma, and infant and perinatal mental health. The For Baby’s Sake team have worked with local government, especially children’s social care, and engaged parents with multiple complex needs and histories of childhood trauma. Most of the people we interviewed for the evaluation, who remained in For Baby’s Sake over time, were able to identify specific ways that they had changed their behaviour, and related these to aspects of the programme.’
Stelio Stefanou, Chairman of the Stefanou Foundation said, ‘We’re pleased that the evaluation led by King’s College London has confirmed what we already knew from experience; that For Baby’s Sake is ground-breaking and parents are using it to make changes for themselves and their babies. New legislation going through Parliament proves there is a desire to transform how the UK addresses domestic abuse whilst, sadly, the recent lockdown restrictions have created an urgency for achieving it.’
Amanda McIntyre, Director of the Stefanou Foundation said, ‘‘Cambridgeshire and Blackpool have already opened For Baby’s Sake sites, building on the experience of the programme in Hertfordshire and London. The evaluation findings, along with the way parents are continuing to reach out to For Baby’s Sake during COVID-19, have made us even more keen to work with partners to expand further, to reach more babies and families to break the cycle of domestic abuse.’
We are very grateful to the co-designers, Roxane Agnew-Davies, Mark Coulter and Christine Puckering who we commissioned to work closely with us on the design of For Baby’s Sake.
We are also grateful to so many partners and stakeholders for their teamwork and support to reach this point. Some of them have kindly provided quotes to mark the publication of the evaluation.
To read their reflections, to download the joint summary of the evaluation and register to read the full report click here
We’re launching a new series of #ReachOut blog posts during COVID-19 on how For Baby’s Sake continues to support families and partner agencies. We’re proud of our practitioners who are making creative use of technology to continue delivering vital front-line work.
Here is our first brief story, from a For Baby’s Sake Practitioner who writes: ‘I was privileged today to video call and speak with a father and his new baby was present in the room. He described his baby as robust and different from his other children. I informed him of my recent Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO) training and helped him to further observe and recognise that his baby was in deep sleep state and had been protecting his sleep throughout the session. He found it fascinating and stated that he thought all babies were the same!’
For Baby’s Sake has been supporting this family since pregnancy. Working separately with mother and father, there is a big emphasis in our antenatal work on supporting parents to increase their own emotional safety and reduce stress for their baby. It was encouraging to see the father in this family recognising his newborn baby’s ability and being wonderfully curious about it.