Children affected by domestic abuse are some of the most vulnerable in the country.
We know half of all children assessed to be in need by local authority children's services have experienced domestic abuse. (Department for Education, 2018).
Children growing up in a household with domestic abuse can go on to face future harms such as developing mental health issues, exhibit harmful sexual behaviour, enter into abusive intimate relationships and youth offending.
We see first-hand the devastating impact of domestic abuse on children’s health and future outcomes.
We provide 14 specialist domestic abuse services who support victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse, including safety planning and therapeutic work.
However, domestic abuse also features in our other services. In the last year, 76 per cent of Barnardo’s front line staff supporting young carers, children who have experienced sexual abuse, or have poor mental health have also been impacted by domestic abuse.
What needs to happen?
The Government needs to ensure that the Domestic Abuse Bill fully reflects children’s experience of domestic abuse and the support they need to recover from trauma. The Government can do this by:
- Introducing a statutory duty to commission specialist support for ALL victims of domestic abuse, children and those exhibiting abusive behaviours.
- Update the Children Act 1989 definition of ‘significant harm’ to incorporate coercive control and other forms of domestic abuse.
- Make the Domestic Abuse Bill explicitly recognise the impact this crime has on children.
Our new report provides insight from our services about why early intervention and support is vital for children impacted by domestic abuse to overcome trauma and achieve a positive future.
You can follow the conversation on social media using #NotJustCollateralDamage.
Read our report below.