Yellow Door, a Southampton-based charity working to prevent sexual and domestic abuse, was awarded £2,229.90 from HIWCF to help with core costs. 

Kirsty Rawlinson, Head of Partnership and Community Development at Yellow Door said: “Covid-19, lockdowns and re-occurring restrictions over recent years has drastically increased the risks for victims and survivors. We have experienced a 91% increase in the number of people needing support since the pandemic began. The reasons for this are beginning to be evidenced such as exacerbation of existing abuse, increased isolation, and increase in household stressors including financial insecurities.” 

Yellow Door offer a range of free services to help people overcome the negative impacts of trauma, violence or abuse. Josh (age 15) and his mother Sarah, had been referred to Yellow Door by Southampton’s Early Help Team who were supporting the family following their experience of domestic abuse. Both Sarah and Josh had experienced psychological and physical abuse from the children’s father for many years and Josh had witnessed the abuse of his mother. When they were living in the family home, Josh often found himself needing to intervene and help his mother. As a result of this, Josh had been struggling with his emotions and behaviour and feared that he would grow up to be like his father. He felt guilty for how he had been treating his mother. Sarah was also struggling emotionally in that Josh’s behaviours were triggers to memories and emotions of her own physical abuse. Josh had been having some support from the school counsellor and had found this helpful in talking about some of his frustrations and feelings.  

Sarah and Josh attended Yellow Door sessions fortnightly for nine sessions. They benefited from having both a male and female therapist working together, which enabled the family to experience the team’s different perspectives. A systemic approach to working with the family enabled the family to express difficult thoughts and feelings and they were able to hear each other’s perspective as the team assisted the family in finding helpful ways to make changes. An Internalized Other Interview (interviewing Josh as if he were his mother) helped in demonstrating their appreciation of each other and also what it was that they would like to change within their relationship. Mapping out the Family genogram and looking at patterns and relationships within the family was helpful. It enabled the family to think about and identify family members who they were close to and could obtain support from. The family were also encouraged to think about things that were going well and how they might continue to build on these. 

Josh felt that having some time with the team had been beneficial to his relationship with his mother. He was building on his understanding regarding the difficult thoughts and feelings he was experiencing and was finding safe and different ways of expressing those emotions. Sarah was able to recognise that in the past Josh had needed to take a parental position in supporting and helping the family and she felt that she was stronger emotionally and needed to maintain a strong parental position herself in the family. They both had been successful in communicating their emotions and feelings to each other so that it did not result in arguments.  

Josh and Sarah felt that the sessions had enabled them to talk calmly and be able to listen to one another and make some positive changes. They felt that they had been able to build on the strong relationship they had and be more considerate to each other’s needs. 

To find out more about Yellow Door, visit