More than 300,000 children have been injured trying to stop arguments between adults at home according to the NSPCC.
Children said their injuries were cuts, marks, bruises or pain that lasted until the next day. More than one thousand 11 to 16 year olds across Britain responded to an NSPCC commissioned survey about their experiences of domestic violence.
ChildLine, a service run by the NSPCC, counsels nearly one hundred children a month who are concerned about domestic violence.
NSPCC head of policy and public affairs, Diana Sutton said: “The UK Government still treats domestic violence as largely an adult problem, but children are victims too.
“Research (3) shows unemployment and financial worries can lead to domestic violence, and with more families in the UK now being hit by the recession we fear a rise in the number of children living in violent homes.
“Calls to ChildLine about domestic violence points to the scale of children’s suffering. However, domestic violence is still a hidden problem and many victims, especially children, are too scared to speak out.
“Domestic violence can devastate children’s lives. Our survey estimates that hundreds of thousands of children are caught up in the violence. Sadly many will carry the emotional scars long after their physical injuries have healed.
“Children who are victims or witnesses of parental conflict and domestic violence are known to be at higher risk of mental health problems, drink and drug abuse, problems at school, and difficulties with relationships. Without help, some will grow up to repeat the pattern of violence toward their own partners and children.
“Society needs to look at domestic violence from a child’s point of view. We need to ensure that children who are victims of domestic violence are able to seek help, and when they do, there are services there to support them. It is imperative that Government addresses the severe shortage of therapy and refuges designed for children.”
The NSPCC is calling on over 250,000 campaigners to petition the UK Government and ministers in devolved nations in Wales and Northern Ireland (4) to better support children suffering domestic violence by providing:
• More public services for children and families affected by domestic violence such as: therapy to help children overcome their experiences; more refuge places for children; access to counselling services at school, culturally sensitive services for Black and ethnic minority children; treatment programmers for domestic violence perpetrators.
• Training for professionals so they consider the impact on children when working with adults suffering domestic violence.
• Education about domestic violence as part of the curriculum so children can grow up to have respectful personal relationships and those suffering domestic violence can get help.
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