by Author Jeany Robinson

Published on

You are here:

Using Music to help Children and Mothers Navigate Transitions from Domestic Violence and Abuse

Researchers at Plymouth University were commissioned by Plymouth Music Zone to study the impact of their creative music-making project in a Domestic Abuse Refuge in the city. The project, ‘Music for a Change’ aims to empower emotionally vulnerable children and young people experiencing challenging and sometimes traumatic changes by providing high quality ‘musical respite’. This research, funded by The National Foundation for Youth Music, was launched at a special seminar at Plymouth University on September 19th 2014, and was attended by Matt Griffiths, Youth Music's Executive Director. Also in attendance were a range of academics, Health and Social Care professionals and other project partners. The day included practitioner and research presentations, films and discussions. Plymouth Music Zone Music Leader Anna Batson described the nature of the work undertaken in the project, the tools and methods used and desired outcomes.

PMZ's 'Music for a Change' project is a special strand of music delivery that involves providing 'musical respite' sessions to support some of the most emotionally vulnerable children and their families who may be dealing with particularly difficult or traumatic changes in their lives. From dealing with bereavement to domestic abuse or the profound effects of social isolation. The project aims to give those involved a rare chance to express themselves and build confidence and resilience through the safe haven that is music.

The independent evaluation, “Feeling their way: women and children using music to navigate transitions from domestic violence”, wascompleted by Professor Jocey Quinn and Claudia Blandon of Plymouth University.

It found music sessions played a vital role in breaking existing cycles of negative  expectations, facilitating resilience and promoting emotional health. They enabled mothers and children to spend time together helping them build trust and confidence offering chances to make choices again. The findings describe the work as “inspiring” and recommend extra resources are made available to train up more Music Leaders and deliver more sessions. 

Plymouth University Professor, Jocey Quinn, believes the work also has broader significance and says, "Domestic violence against women is a huge social problem. Our research contributes to a wider understanding of this issue, showing the vulnerability and the resilience of women and 
children who escape and seek the vital support of the Refuge. It demonstrates how PMZ is sensitively using music to help support their transitions into safety and freedom." 

Read the full report here.

Read Plymouth University's News article by Andrew Merrington here: