3-5 children in any classroom in England are living with domestic abuse

25% of young adults in the UK have witnessed domestic abuse during their childhood

130,000 children in England & Wales currently live in homes where there is high-risk domestic abuse (Safe Lives 2015, Getting it right first time: policy report)

62% of children living with domestic abuse not only suffer from witnessing the abuse, but are also a direct target from the perpetrator (CAADA 2014, In Plain Sight: effective help for children exposed to domestic abuse)

90% of domestic violence takes place with children in the same or next room

Children can be seriously affected by domestic abuse in many different ways, even if they are not a direct target for the abuse.

Our clients often describe how they did everything they could to protect their children from knowing what was going on. Realising that their children knew about the abuse was the impetus for asking for help.

The effects on children can be so serious, that the NSPCC recently proposed that children living with domestic abuse should be categorised as victims as well as the abused partner. 

Children living with domestic abuse can be affected by:

  • witnessing the abuse, either seeing or hearing it;
  • being neglected as a result of the abuse;
  • being inadvertently involved in the violence, or hurt when they intervene.

Children are also frequently used by perpetrators as a means of abusing their partners, by:

  • undermining mothers in front of their children;
  • telling children "It's her fault, she makes me do it";
  • encouraging children to take sides;
  • abusing mothers in front of their children;
  • coercing children to mimic or join in the abuse of their mother.

Children living with domestic abuse usually need support, including needing to know that it is not their fault. They may be hurt or bullied, and need support with that too. 

JWA has children's therapy available to support the children of our clients, provided they are no longer living with the perpetrator.

Our children's therapists also offer parenting support, both individually and in groups, to our clients.

See JWA resources for working with children to help them develop healthy, safe relationships

See JWA information for children & young people about domestic abuse

Other useful resources for children living with domestic abuse:

The Hideout 

Childline