A project to help keep very young children safe from domestic abuse is being rolled out across the whole of Cheshire.
Following a successful pilot in Warrington, Cheshire's police and crime commissioner David Keane has committed £30,000 from his Victims Services Fund to make the 'do you feel what I feel?' toolkit and training available to all practitioners working in pre-school settings in Cheshire.
The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the effects of domestic abuse on young children and to equip practitioners in supporting children to express their feelings.
Created in partnership with Warrington Borough Council, Cheshire Without Abuse and Barnardo's, the toolkit includes play based activities, stories and characterised scenarios, brought to life in the form of a soft sock toy called Monkey Bob.
A few simple messages are revisited throughout a series of activities to give young children a clear plan about what to do if they are frightened or worried.
David Keane, police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, said: "Domestic abuse is a serious crime that not only affects men and women, but also children. In the majority of families where there are children and where abuse is being perpetrated, the children will be aware of this and will often hear it or see it going on. The abuse can have a devastating impact on children that can last into adulthood.
"It's critical that children have the confidence to speak up and, when it matters, to speak out. It's fantastic to see the success this project has had among pre-school children in Warrington in helping to create a safe and natural environment for children to disclose any fears or concerns. I look forward to seeing the benefits of wider roll-out of the toolkit and training across the whole of Cheshire."
The implementation of the project across Cheshire has already started, with staff from Halton, Cheshire West & Chester and Cheshire East councils receiving training.