Scotland

How a girl, 10, left 'inside hurting' behind

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Media caption'We all wanted a day without fighting'

Until a year ago 10-year-old Emily was one of the "forgotten victims" of domestic abuse, the thousands of children who directly witness violence in the home.

Every year in Scotland there are about 100,000 police call-outs to domestic abuse cases and it is estimated that 40% of the incidents take place in front of children.

Emily, not her real name, told BBC Scotland's Mornings with Kaye Adams she tried not to let the constant arguments affect her but inside it was making her annoyed and sad.

Using techniques she was taught in a pioneering recovery programme, the primary school pupil described the effect on her in terms of the Titanic.

"Have you heard how the Titanic saw the iceberg at the top but there was more at the bottom," she said.

"On top you might be happy but inside you might be nervous or sad."

Emily received help from the CEDAR (Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery) programme in South Lanarkshire, one of several across Scotland.

After taking part in the scheme, she is able to talk about the domestic violence she witnessed, which she describes as "inside hurting".

Depressed young woman sitting on the bed at home suffering from a severe depression
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My mum said to him to get out. I took the keys off him so he couldn't get back in. Then we locked him out
10-year-old Emily

Emily says her mum and dad were always fighting and shouting.

She used to plug her headphones in to her tablet and play music to try to drown out the noise but she could often still hear them.

She says: "There was one day when I was trying to get to sleep and I just heard arguing all the time. So I snuck out my bed and I looked through the door frame and I saw them arguing.

"I went through and I said 'will you be quiet, I'm trying to sleep'.

"My mum listened but my dad didn't. My dad just walked away. My mum said to him to get out. I took the keys off him so he couldn't get back in. Then we locked him out."

Emily adds: "I was kind of glad when I woke up the next morning and he wasn't there.

"I was quite annoyed at him and quite shocked. We've not been in touch with him. He's just gone."

'A big wave crashing'

Emily says she is relieved that she does not have to live with "inside hurting" any more.

"It was like when you are surfing and there is a big wave and it crashes into you," she says.

"That's what it was like in my life. I'm glad that wave is over now and I don't need to worry about it any more."

Emily attended the CEDAR programme and so did her mother Macy, who claims it helped them get over the trauma of what had happened.

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Image caption About 40% of domestic abuse incidents are witnessed by children

Macy says the abuse went on for years.

"You get stuck in a cycle and it's hard to break out," she says.

"I was very low, I just had no motivation. I gave up on myself and then the kids."

She says it took her a long time to realise the impact it was having on Emily.

"She hides a lot and she used to hide it quite well," Macy says.

"It was only towards the end that I noticed that her behaviour and everything about her changed. That's when I realised he was starting to impact on her."

Her mum says Emily has come a long way in a year since her dad left and is back to being herself.

"Her personality is back and she's her lively self and she wraps everybody round her finger," she says.

The CEDAR programme in South Lanarkshire says they are currently assessing 34 children but they are concerned that funding, which previously came from the Big Lottery is due to end early next year.

Women's Aid South Lanarkshire, which runs the programme in their area, are now desperately looking for other ways to secure £130,000 funding for the scheme beyond January.

Emily says talking to other people about inside hurting has helped her deal with it.

"When it started I felt like I was the only person that was going through it," she says.

"When I started to go I got happier because I knew I was not the only one that was going through it. So I was quite happy.

"Every week I was more happy and more talkative."

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