Types of domestic abuse include intimate partner violence, abuse by family members, teenage relationship abuse and child/adolescent to parent violence and abuse. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse, regardless of sexual identity, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or background and domestic abuse can take place inside or outside of the home.
All children can witness and be adversely affected by domestic abuse in the context of their home life where domestic abuse occurs between family members. Experiencing domestic abuse and/or violence can have a serious, long lasting emotional and psychological impact on children. In some cases, children may blame themselves for the abuse or may have had to leave the family home as a result.
Young people can also experience domestic abuse within their own intimate relationships. This form of peer on peer abuse is sometimes referred to as ‘teenage relationship abuse’. Depending on the age of the young people, this may not be recognised in law under the statutory definition of ‘domestic abuse’ (if one or both parties are under 16). However, as with any child under 18, where there are concerns about safety or welfare, child-safeguarding procedures should be followed and both young victims and young perpetrators should be offered support.
We will always liaise with agencies in a two-way process where domestic abuse is a factor in a household. Children within our care will be supported where needed. We are part of the Operation ENCOMPASS process where domestic incidents are shared directly with us, so that we have an initial awareness. To this end, we will be part of any agency referral, in a two-way process, such as the Domestic Violence Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) or any other named agencies where these specific issues are a factor that may impair and impact on children’s development.
Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which can be called free of charge and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. Its website provides guidance and support for potential victims, as well as those who are worried about friends and loved ones. It also has a form through which a safe time from the team for a call can be booked.
We will use the following additional advice on identifying children who are affected by domestic abuse and how they can be helped: