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Children and young people

Children living with domestic abuse need to be identified, protected and supported. Not all children need social worker involvement to be safe but if you are worried that a child is at serious risk you should contact us.

Where to find help

You can find help in the following places.

Children and young people may:

  • Feel confused, anxious, angry, afraid, isolated, ashamed, guilty
  • Risk injury by being caught in between parents
  • Be unable to concentrate and to achieve at school
  • Be used to threaten victims (threats to harm children or have them taken into care)
  • Not have their own needs fully met by a parent who is struggling to cope with being abused
  • Be directly abused by the person who is harming the adult
  • Develop ways of coping that are harmful eg running away or using substances.

However, with support, most children and young people recover from their abusive experiences. All statutory services for children should address domestic abuse as part of their provision.

Domestic abuse is a safeguarding issue

When children or young people disclose that they are living with domestic abuse it is very important to:

  • Reassure them that the violence is not their fault
  • Encourage them to express their fears and concerns so that they can be addressed
  • Involve them in safety planning - dependent on age and ability
  • Remember that the child or young person already has coping strategies on which to build
  • Empower the non-abusing parent to keep their child safe

One serious issue impacting the wellbeing of children is that of contact with the abusive parent post separation or divorce.

Courts start from the presumption that contact with the non resident parent (usually the father) is in the best interests of the child and so most children are required to have some kind of contact. This must be managed safely.