Jan Cooper MBE is the co-founder of Reading Safer Families and trustee of Berkshire Women’s Aid (and one of its original founders). She shares her thoughts on how children are affected by domestic abuse, and why she is holding hands with NDADA

‘It is never too early to start teaching children about healthy relationships, like respect for others and their right to live safely and not in fear. Children are smart parent-watchers and they will know if one of their parents is being abused. Everyone has a right to live safely and not in fear of those they love.’

Jan Cooper was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in November 2019 for her dedication to keeping victims of domestic abuse safe. She co-founded Berkshire Women’s Aid in 1974, having moved to Reading in 1970 when she worked as a psychiatric social worker. This was the first safe house to be established in Berkshire, helping thousands of women and children over the years to escape terrifying, violent situations. Subsequently, she established the pioneering ‘Family Choices’ which had an emphasis on working with the whole family – including the perpetrator – to help them break out of negative patterns and establish healthy relationships.

The Holding Hands with NDADA series shines a light on why NDADA’s work is so vital, and why people choose to support us.