Domestic violence statistics revealed today
Monday 19 March 2012
More than 6,500 children were witnesses to domestic abuse over Christmas.
Figures released by the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) ahead of their annual Domestic Abuse Conference today (Monday 19 March) show that 6,585 children were present at domestic abuse incidents committed across Scotland during December and January.
And according to Anti-Violence Campaign lead Chief Inspector Graham Goulden, the real figure could be even higher.
“These are just the incidents we know about, the incidents where police have been called and recorded that children were present. Sadly, this will not be the full picture.
“We know it can often take many incidents of abuse before a victim feels able to report, often because they fear what will happen to their children if they do. It’s likely there are other children out there that we don’t know about who will have seen domestic abuse over Christmas.”
The release of the figures follows the joint ‘letter to Santa’ Christmas campaign by the VRU and CHILDREN 1ST to raise awareness of the impact of domestic violence on children and young people.
Alison Todd, Director of Policy and Practice Development at CHILDREN 1ST, who is speaking at today's conference at the Scottish Police College, said:
"We need to start thinking about children who witness domestic abuse as victims, because often they are. Research has shown that children are more likely to be physically abused in homes where there is severe violence and also, a minority are more likely to be sexually abused.
"We know from the work we do in our abuse and trauma recovery services that the emotional trauma from growing up in homes where violence is present can also be severe, especially for younger children.
"As a society, we need to be sure that we are doing all we can to protect children from domestic abuse - the data suggests that well over 30,000 children in Scotland could be living in fear of abuse and violence.
"At CHILDREN 1ST, we've had enough of children's lives being blighted by violence and we think it is time for Scotland to say "enough" as well.
No child in Scotland should be growing up afraid to go home and we will continue to work with the VRU and others to ensure this situation changes."
Also speaking at the conference will be Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Harry Burns and Heather Coady, Children’s Policy Manager at Scottish Women’s Aid (SWA). Heather will speak about the CEDAR (Children Experiencing Domestic Abuse Recovery) project, which received National Lottery funding of £367,109 earlier this year to work with families to help them move on from the emotional and social difficulties experienced as a consequence of domestic abuse.
Chief Inspector Goulden said:
“The issues surrounding children and young people who live with domestic abuse are many and varied. We need to raise awareness of all the many aspects of this problem in order to make it understood and help those who are suffering from it.”
Last updated: Monday 19 March 2012