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Almost 50% of children who witness domestic violence not known to social services

Forty-six per cent of children exposed to domestic violence have had no previous dealings with social services, a charity has claimed.

Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse (CAADA) examined the cases of 877 children receiving support from four different domestic abuse services. Sixty-two per cent of the children had experienced emotional abuse, physical abuse or neglect themselves, as well as witnessing the abuse of one of their parents. Twenty-eight per cent of such children had been physically abused, and 18 per cent had been injured during a domestic attack on someone else. But only 54 per cent of such children had had any previous dealings with social services.

In the majority of cases, the parent who abused the adult victim abused the child as well.

According to the CAADA report, entitled In plain sight: Effective help for children exposed to domestic abuse, children who witness domestic abuse often suffer from significant emotional problems as a result. More than half had behavioural problems and just under 40 per cent had difficulties at school. A quarter had begun to display abusive behaviour themselves – usually towards other members of the family or friends, but rarely towards the parent responsible for abuse.

CAADA claims that frontline professionals and agencies do not always cooperate so some children experiencing or witnessing abuse escape notice. It calls for the creation of a network of  “nominated lead professionals” to coordinate work in different areas and for domestic abuse services for children and adults to be linked.

CAADA Chief Executive Diana Barran said: “Domestic abuse is a factor in the background of two thirds of Serious Case Reviews. A number of these have made the headlines recently, including the tragic cases of Daniel Pelka and Hamzah Khan. For too long, services have worked in silos, with different assessments of risk around adult domestic abuse and children’s safeguarding. To prevent further needless deaths, leadership is needed to move agencies from a culture of referrals to one of proactive and effective joint action.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Paul says:

    Note well the DV schematic on CAADA’s first page and how it is only the male that needs to address his abusive behaviour. With attitudes like that it is as well for parents to keep their heads and children well below the social services horizon. What would these busybodies do anyway? Other than threaten to take your children away on some spurious presumption around “future emotional harm”, I doubt very much.

  2. Stitchedup says:

    I do wonder how long this constant finger pointing at men can carry on. There needs to be a coordinated approach from men’s rights organisations to address this issue, perhaps a mass march/rally in the first instance with some joined-up thinking and a coordinated strategy to tackle the issue head-on.

    The whole issue of men’s rights needs to be addressed not just father’s rights.

  3. Paul says:

    There are no men’s rights organisations to speak of. Men can’t be bothered with that sort of thing. It’s only propagandist women, mainly lesbian, talking amongst themselves (plus the odd male wimp) who try and get people to believe in all that nonsense about the patriarchy.

  4. Stitchedup says:

    Paul, I’m referring to the likes of Fathers4justice and Mankind etc.

  5. Paul says:

    Three men and a dog, Stitched. No funds, no organisation, no political franchise to speak of. Politicians fawn over Mumsnet, not Mankind.

    I laugh when these social policy advocates witter on about the Patrikey. Most male perpetrators these days have been raised by single mums on sink estates where the Patrikey, even if it did once exist, would have disappeared from those places at least three generations back. The DV brigade need to come up with something more plausible. Matrikey would be more like it.

    Father Absence would explain it even more coherently.

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