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Staying Mum

We are pleased to share with you the outcomes from the Staying Mum project: 

  • The Staying Mum Literature Review and Peer Research Report highlight the experience and impact of child removal for mothers facing domestic and sexual violence and abuse. They make practical recommendations that stretch across the family courts, lawyers, and child protection officials (e.g. social services, Cafcass) to improve responses and outcomes for mothers and their children at risk of removal.
  • The Staying Mum section on AVA’s Breathing Space provides information and support for mothers facing domestic abuse who are worried about their children being removed from their care. The online resource provides guidance on navigating the Family Court system and managing day to day, with tips, advice and stories from other mums who have had similar experiences.
  • The Staying Mum Domestic Abuse and Child Removal E-learning Course is for professionals working with mothers who are survivors of domestic abuse and have had children removed from their care, or are at risk of having children removed in future. This course was developed by AVA as part of the Staying Mum project and draws on evidence from our peer research and literature review. 
  • Guidance document following The Staying Mum online launch event in 2022 – It is based on questions asked by the attendees which we have collated and split into broader themes to follow on from the outcomes of this project.

AVA is incredibly grateful to the seven experts by experience, peer researchers on the project, who conducted the research for the final research report and expertly informed all parts of the project, and to the inspiring women who shared their stories with us.

Alongside these outputs, AVA also coordinated a community of practice group for professionals working with women experiencing domestic abuse and child removal, facilitating the sharing of good practice, and relationship building across professions and informing Staying Mum project outputs.

The Staying Mum project builds on AVA’s previous work on the National Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage, which identified need for work in this area: women’s role as mothers featured strongly in their ability to access help and support.

We are grateful to the John Ellerman Foundation for funding this important project.

Staying Mum: Findings from peer research with mothers surviving domestic abuse & child removal

This peer research report helps to understand and improve responses to women who have faced domestic and sexual violence and abuse and child removal. Research was conducted by AVA peer researchers with lived experience of domestic abuse and child removal, and amplifies the voices of women who have experienced the removal of a child or children in the context of domestic abuse.


Staying Mum: Literature Review

This evidence review is a valuable resource for professionals who work with women affected by abuse and who are at risk of child removal/who have had children removed. This review explores the available evidence on experience of and impact of child removal on mothers, and identifies promising practice across the UK.


Staying Mum Guidance – post launch event

This guidance follows on from The Staying Mum project launch, held online on the 20th of October 2022. It is based on questions asked by the attendees which we have collated and split into broader themes to follow on from the outcomes of this project.


“I’d been told that I was the odd one out. I was sick of hearing that it was really unusual for women to lose their children and actually, it’s not unusual. There are a lot of women at this moment in time who are faced with the threat of their child/children being removed, or who have had their child removed fairly recently or many years ago and they are still trying to live with the impact of that… I couldn’t quite believe that there were other women out there who were like me.”

– Staying Mum Peer Researcher
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