Effective help for children living with domestic abuse

Domestic abuse affects the whole family. That’s why our experts find out what works for both the victim and the children to stop domestic abuse. Then we do everything we can to make sure families everywhere benefit. And we won’t stop until everyone is safe.

The impact of domestic abuse on children

There are 130,000 children in the UK living in homes with domestic abuse where there’s a high risk of murder or serious harm. Thousands more live with less serious domestic abuse every day. This has a serious impact on children, and their health and wellbeing, as evidenced in our 2014 report, In Plain Sight: effective help for children exposed to domestic abuse. 

Every time I felt scared I wanted to go into my room, curl up into a ball and start screaming. 

Chloe*

  • Nearly 2 in 3 children (62%) exposed to domestic violence were also directly harmed
  • Children suffer multiple physical and mental health consequences because of living with domestic violence
  • Only half of the children were previously known to children’s social services. But 80% were known to at least one public agency

I worry about school phoning home when I've been in trouble, because then dad takes it out on mum. It's my fault.

David, aged 13*

* To protect identities, names have been changed.

The work to be done

In order for children exposed to domestic abuse to get the help they so badly deserve, professionals need to make sure they make the link between the risk to the adult and the risk to the child, and that they act upon it. And children need to receive specialist domestic violence support, tailored to their needs and linked to the help their parents are getting. 

We continue to learn about the impact of domestic abuse on children through SafeLives' children’s Insights programme, available for services and commissioners.

No child should bear the burden of domestic violence and no family should live in fear. Help us put an end to it.