Published: 6th June 2018
According to leading children’s charity Barnardo’s, children affected by domestic violence and abuse require specialist help in order to learn how to cope with the trauma and live a normal life. Barnardo’s are very experienced in working closely with cases of domestic abuse, offering a total of 14 specialist domestic abuse services.
From their own research, they suggest that children that come from families where domestic abuse occurs are likely to be affected for the rest of their lives, as well as being vulnerable in different ways too. Whilst there are many different services throughout the UK that focus on working closely with adults experiencing domestic abuse, it is thought that there isn’t a big enough focus on the trauma that children suffer as part of it.
Children Impacted by Domestic Abuse and Violence
Almost every practitioner within the domestic abuse service run by Barnardo’s claims that children experiencing the effects of domestic abuse and violence require specialist help from a support worker. Barnardo’s Chief Executive, Javed Khan, commented: “Barnardo’s knows first-hand that children and young people are often the forgotten victims of domestic abuse. They are not just witnesses, even if abuse and violence isn’t aimed directly at them. Growing up in families where there is abuse or violence can lead to serious emotional effects which can stay with children for life. Research in our services shows many children who have been sexually exploited or who show harmful sexual behaviour live in households where there is abuse or violence. They are also more likely to be in abusive relationships themselves later in life. Children and young people need specialist support to overcome trauma and go on to lead happy, healthy lives and this bill is a missed opportunity to put them at the centre of their strategy.”
The View of the Specialist Practitioners at Barnardo’s
As part of its research, Barnardo’s surveyed its specialist practitioners, questioning them about the services provided, as well as domestic abuse and its relationship with children. Over 90% of the specialist practitioners suggested that neglect is common in families impacted by domestic abuse, whilst those working on child sexual exploitation and harmful sexual behaviour services suggested that families were also suffering at the hands of domestic abuse.
The practitioners suggest that they often work with children and young people that suffer from mental health problems, anxiety and other issues, due to the domestic abuse at home. New evidence is constantly being gathered to suggest that domestic violence is a contributor to poor behaviour in the lives of children, which doesn’t bode well for the child’s future life. With this in mind, Barnardo’s are urging the Government to take action against domestic abuse, using the approach of involving different Government departments to fight the issue on a long term basis.
If you are concerned about the health or welfare of your child or if you have experienced any form of domestic abuse then K J Smith Solicitors can help. Our team of family law specialists have many years of experience in dealing with all matters relating to children and domestic violence with the utmost care and sensitivity.
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