The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has called on the Government to recognise the harm that domestic abuse has on children and give them the victim status that would ensure they receive the services they need.
According to the latest figures from the Department for Education (DfE) just under a quarter of a million children are living with domestic violence in England, with the figures for 2017/18 showing domestic abuse was a factor in 246,720 child protection assessments.
Last year the Government conducted a consultation on domestic abuse, but have yet to publish the results. However, the NSPCC has discovered that the proposed new definition of domestic abuse refers only to the effects of abuse on people aged 16 and over, meaning younger children are in danger of being forgotten about by the UK justice system.
This has prompted the NSPCC to call for greater legal recognition for children. This would provide them with greater protection through domestic abuse protection orders, provide professionals with the power to take action to protect children at risk and help authorities ensure there are specific support services for children and young people.
Almudena Lara, Head of Policy at the NSPCC, said: It is quite astonishing that the government is dragging its feet when deciding whether to recognise young people as victims when almost a quarter of a million children that we know of are living with domestic abuse in England alone.
“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.
“For this to be done effectively we need government to open their eyes to the harm domestic abuse has on children and give them victim status in the upcoming White Paper to ensure they receive the services they need.”
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