“Living in a house where domestic violence goes on every day never feels like home” – Beverley Knight
1 in 7 children under the age of 18 live with domestic abuse.
90% of children are in the same or next room when domestic abuse takes place.
We work to support mothers and their children from pregnancy right through to adulthood. We meet children and young people at every age and stage of life and at many different points in their experience of domestic abuse.
Our very experienced and well-trained workers are specialists in the impact of domestic abuse on children, young people and the mother child relationship.
We have all kinds of services, including one to one support for 4+ years, schools workshops, peer group support for 8+ years and baby, toddler and key stage one activities too. All of our refuges have playrooms and run immediate interventions for babies and children when they arrive and continue to live in refuge.
‘The immediate trauma of a young child may go underground but it will return to haunt us’ – James Garbarino
Often when we discuss domestic abuse we talk about the victim to whom the abuse is directed. It goes without saying that supporting victims is vital, however when there are children in the picture, they are often affected and need support too.
Perpetrators frequently use children as a means to control their victims further; for example, we have seen many cases over the years where an abuser threatens to take the children away from their mum, or to report the mum to social services. We have even seen cases where perpetrators have actually attempted to kidnap children from the mum’s home or the childrens’ school. This is obviously a very traumatic experience for a child to go through, as is hearing one of their parents verbally abuse the other, seeing them be physically attacked or told that they are no good as a mum. All of these examples make children victims of domestic abuse too, whether the abuse is directed at them or not. It is estimated that 1 in 7 children witness domestic abuse in their home in the UK, so support services for children are incredibly important.
Discussing domestic abuse and children can be tough, primarily because many people tend to ask “why didn’t she leave for the sake of her children?”, without realising how difficult and complicated experiencing abuse as a mother can be. Part of our mission is to educate and inform, helping to challenge victim-blaming stereotypes that put the responsibility with the mother rather than the abuser. We encourage an open discourse and seek to educate the public on the realities of domestic abuse and its impact on children. Read on below for some facts about domestic abuse and children affected by it, and what services we have to support them: