DARE Domestic Abuse Support

Domestic abuse and violence can happen to anyone but is often excused or denied, especially when the abuse is emotional rather than physical. Domestic abuse survivors often have to deal with the negative effects of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. For some survivors, it can take a long time to adjust and find resolution to what they have experienced.

We are here to help parents and children who have experienced domestic violence and abuse.

What is DARE?

DARE is a group-based recovery programme for children who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. It is a community-based programme for children aged between 5 and 16 years old who have been exposed to domestic violence and abuse.

The programme offers a safe environment for the children to be given the opportunity to move away from the violence and abuse and begin recovery in a therapeutic way. DARE is designed to offer the parent group the tools and skills to confidently support their child’s recovery. It exists to assist children in their recovery and should not form part of any assessment for a child or family.

What is the aim of the DARE programme?

DARE gives children an opportunity to process and understand what they have experienced. The programme includes:

– Giving the children an opportunity to talk around what has happen and what they have gone through.

– Educating and reassuring the children that the violence and abuse was not their fault.

– Providing the children with opportunities to explore ways of keeping themselves safe.

– Mothers will be supported to understand how best to help and support their child or children.

How does the DARE programme work?

Over the programme, the children and parents group meet separately, with the parent’s group mirroring the child sessions to allow the children to learn new skills in dealing with past traumas. Parents are given the tools to help support their child’s recovery. The programme also allows you to connect with other survivors, to share experiences with and enhance each other’s parenting skills.

The children’s sessions use play, stories, drawing and games to help them identify their feelings around separation, loss, anger and any abuse they may have suffered. They are then taught new skills around how to express and manage their feelings, including anger and conflict resolutions. Groups are made up of 6 to 8 children, split into age groups allowing age-appropriate sessions and materials.

Parent participation is required as experience has shown the best outcomes for the children happen when both attend groups.

What is covered on the programme?

We offer sessions in a safe, positive environment and understand the content of the programme may be difficult for both the children and parents at times. Sessions are packed with fun-filled activities, aimed to build the child’s confidence and self-worth. Activities can be adapted to suit the participants, allowing them to feel they have become a contributing member of the group.

Who is DARE for?

The DARE programme is suitable for children if:

– A child has been exposed to or impacted by domestic violence and abuse.

– The perpetrator no longer resides in the family home and the children have no contact with them.

– There is NO ongoing violence.

– The child is aged between 5 and 16 years old.

– A risk assessment has been carried out that indicates the programme will be safe for the child to engage in.

When does DARE take place?

The DARE programme is held during school holidays and runs over a 5 day period, from Monday to Friday.

How can you take part in, or refer someone?

For further details or questions, please contact:

Kwanele Bhebhe, DARE Coordinator at Children North East


0191 272 7824 or 07760788642


If you are in immediate danger as a result of domestic abuse, call 999. 
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
If you urgently need to talk to someone about domestic abuse, including support to stay safe, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline is open 24 hours a day. It is a free, confidential service which won’t appear on phone records and can provide interpreters if required.