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Protecting Children from Domestic Abuse

28 Oct

When domestic abuse occurs within the home, your first instinct will often be to shield your children from what is going on. Unfortunately, a significant number of young people are still exposed to violence and abuse. Whilst there are no official statistics that can tell us the number of children living with all forms of domestic abuse, the NSPCC estimate that approximately one in five children have experienced living with violence.


The abuse can come in a variety of forms, including physical, psychological and emotional. Some children will be exposed to abuse directly, whilst others can be in another room and overhear the abuse or witness their mother’s injuries at a later date. However it occurs, we know that every child will react differently to domestic abuse and their response will often vary depending on age, sex, cultural background and stage of development.


Effects can include, among other things:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Aggression
  • Problems at school
  • Alcohol or drugs misuse
  • Eating disorders or self-harming

A common misconception is that children who experience domestic abuse will likely to go on to become perpetrators of abuse in later life. Over the years we have helped many young people through our refuges and outreach services, with many using their experiences to display considerable resilience in later life. 


How You Can Help a Child Experiencing Domestic Abuse


It is common for mothers to want to avoid speaking to their children about their experiences for fear of distressing them further or being in denial of what has taken place. However, in many instances we know that children appreciate the opportunity to talk about their situations.


If a child comes to you and tells you that they have been abused, there are a number of things you can do to reassure them:

  • Do not allow the child to see how distressed or upset you are.
  • Allow the child to tell you, in their own time, what has happened.
  • Make the child aware that what has happened to them is not their fault.
  • Stress how brave they have been in telling you.
  • Show the child that you are concerned for their well-being 

If you would like help supporting a child who is experiencing domestic abuse, or if you are concerned that a child could be at risk of further abuse, do not hesitate to call our confidential helpline. You can call us on 0300 561 0077 or send us an email to referrals@leewaynwa.org.uk.


Bullied child

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