Too many children living with domestic abuse says Children 1st

A quarter of children and families supported by charity Children 1st last year were affected by domestic abuse.

The charity revealed the figures as 16 Days of Action, a nationwide campaign to highlight abuse against women, comes to a close.

Of the children, young people and adults supported by the charity’s local services last year one in four were impacted in some way by domestic abuse, even if that wasn’t the main reason for their referral.

The majority of these were children aged between six and 11 but the issue affected children of all ages, including unborn or new-born babies.

Mary Glasgow of Children 1st said: “Once we start our work with a child we often find that domestic abuse is, or has been, there in the background. It is an underlying issue, but one which can have a devastating impact.

“We know that the effects can be both immediate and long term. Many of the parents we support talk about how their own experience of domestic abuse as children affected their ability to do well in school, to make good choices about partners and relationships, and has affected their mental health. Children who live with violence and abuse at home need space, time and support to make sense of their experience and to help them move on and recover.

“At a time when local authorities are under pressure to cut back on spending, it is vital that these and other funders maintain funding for projects which tackle domestic abuse. If we don’t help children recover early then we all pay the price later on.”

The charity have also released a short film highlighting how they help children recover from traumatic experiences. It features mum Megan who was a victim of domestic abuse for years.

She says her three children were forbidden from having friends round and knew there was a price to pay when their dad didn’t get his own way.

“I didn’t want that for my children,” she explains, “I wanted them to be able to have friends round. To have a childhood and not to be scared in their own house.”

She praised Children 1st, who raise awareness in schools about healthy relationships.

“My youngest child came home one day saying they’d had Children 1st into the class. I was glad that she was able to speak about it, and glad to be able to speak about it with her. When you look at how many people can be affected by domestic abuse it’s so important to be aware of.”

It’s estimated that 50,000 children each year live in a household where there’s domestic abuse. 16 Days of Action is an initiative designed to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world.