Domestic Abuse and Violence

Domestic Abuse and Violence

Domestic abuse (also called Domestic Violence) is a crime and a major social problem affecting many families. In 90% of reported domestic violence incidents, children have either been present in the same or a nearby room.

What is Domestic Abuse?

The Government, in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, defines domestic abuse as ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexual orientation’.Family members includes mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.

How does it affect children?

Following the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, children are now recognised as victims of domestic abuse. Exposure to domestic abuse can have serious effects on children

·         Domestic violence may teach children to use displays of aggression

·         Violence can affect children in serious and long-lasting ways

·         Children who are exposed to domestic abuse are being emotionally abused

·         Children will often blame themselves for domestic abuse

·         Alcohol misuse is a common contributing factor when violence occurs in families

·         Pregnant women are more vulnerable to domestic abuse

Children, who witness, intervene, or hear incidents are affected in many ways. Children may see or be aware of abuse in the family, even if parents think they do not. Children learn how to behave from examples parents set for them. Domestic abuse teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:

·         It can teach them that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict

·         They learn how to keep secrets

·         They learn to mistrust those close to them

·         Children may feel they are to blame for abuse, especially if abuse erupts after an argument about the child 

Effects upon children

Children are affected in many ways by abuse, even after a short time. These effects include: feeling frightened, becoming withdrawn, bedwetting, running away, aggressiveness, behavioural difficulties, problems with school, poor concentration and emotional turmoil.The longer children are exposed to abuse, the more severe the effects on them may be. These can include: 

·         A lack of respect for the non-violent parent.

·         Loss of self-confidence, which will affect their ability to form relationships in the future.

·         Being over-protective of parent.

·         Loss of childhood.

·         Problems at school.

·         Running away.  

What can I do?

Domestic abuse is a crime. Never hesitate to report what is happening. There are many specialist domestic abuse services who are able to help. The Police, for example, have specialist domestic violence officers trained to help you and put you in touch with other agencies who can help you with safety planning, housing issues, drug or alcohol problems or give details of solicitors who can assist you with the legal queries.

·         Are you confused, scared and isolated because of an abusive partner or ex-partner?

·         Do you need to talk to someone because you think you may be in an abusive relationship?

·         Are you concerned about your family situation?

·         Are you a young person worried and confused about a relationship you have?

·         Are you worried about someone, professionally or personally, who may be being abused?

If you are concerned that you are being abused you can contact a local domestic abuse service confidentially by telephone:

·         Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service - 0151 263 7474

·         South Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service - 0151 494 1777

Liverpool Domestic Abuse Guidance - this document is a good practice guide for all multi-agency staff working with adults and families in Liverpool at risk of or experiencing domestic abuse. It will also be useful for frontline staff dealing with sexual exploitation. Click here to download the guidance

Other Useful Links

If you are worried about domestic violence, discuss it with someone else. If you are displaying abusive behaviour and have children, you can seek help to stop what is happening.

NSPCCHelpline: 0808 800 5000Textphone: 0800 056 0808 800 0800 Domestic Violence Helpline - 24 hour freephoneTel: 0808 2000 Centre for Domestic 0844 8044 999


Liverpool Domestic Abuse Guidance - Adults and Children March 2021

Children's Commissioner - Are they shouting because of me? July 2018