Nearly 9,000 children living with domestic abuse in Suffolk and Essex - figures reveal
- Credit: Contributed
New figures have revealed that nearly 9,000 children were living with domestic abuse in Suffolk and Essex during the 2017/18 financial year.
In Suffolk, domestic abuse was found to be a factor in the child protection assessments of 2,704 children.
The assessment aims to gather information and to analyse the needs of the child or children and/or their family and the nature and level of any risk of harm to the child or children.
Domestic abuse is deemed to be a factor if a child is affected directly or indirectly by abuse in their household.
In Essex, domestic abuse was found to be a factor in 6,091 children’s assessments.
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The figures, released by the NSPCC, have been revealed in a bid to persuade the government to recognise children living with domestic abuse as victims under law as they change their definition of domestic abuse
Legally recognising children experiencing domestic abuse as victims would help professionals to take action to protect children at risk and would help authorities ensure there are specific services to help young people overcome the trauma of exposure to domestic abuse, the charity said.
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Almudena Lara, head of policy at the NSPCC, said: “It is quite astonishing that the government is dragging its feet. As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services that understand the complex trauma children living with domestic abuse experience.”
Sally Winston, chief executive of Lighthouse Women’s Aid, a domestic abuse charity based in Ipswich, said: “Sadly one of the main tactics of an abuser is to find their victims’ greatest fear and then use this fear to control them. The greatest fear for all mothers is that their children will be removed from them.
“The perpetrator will intentionally manipulate this fear by telling the mother that if they speak out their children will be taken into care. The victim is then trapped in the abusive relationship for fear of the consequences if she tries to leave.
“The physical, emotional and developmental effects on children who are exposed to domestic abuse are undisputed so the NSPCC’s urge to recognise them as victims of domestic abuse in their own right makes sense.”