Why is domestic violence an issue in safeguarding children and young people?

Domestic violence is a significant child protection issue,and is seen as one of the main causes of risk to the safety of children.  In 90% of cases, children were in the same or the next room, and in 50% of cases, children were directly abused. Witnessing domestic violence can have significant short and long term effects on children’s development, resulting, for example, in eating and sleeping disorders, and emotional and behavioural problems.

A new definition of domestic violence and abuse has been produced by the Home Office, and is effective from 31 March 2013.  For more details see the Home Office website.

Long term effects often include poor educational attainment, anti-social behaviour, youth offending, high levels of teenage pregnancy, and alcohol and drug misuse. As children become adults, they are more prone to becoming victims or perpetrators themselves.  Mothers living with domestic violence are often unable to protect their children from the direct and indirect effects of abuse, despite their best efforts.

Have you been affected by domestic violence?

If you have been affected by domestic violence, Safer Merton has information and advice: Merton Council Domestic Violence webpage

Links for more information:

Women's Aid have also created a website called The Hideout to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse