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 violence 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?
- Domestic violence may teach children to use violence
- Violence can affect children in serious and long-lasting ways
- Where there is domestic violence there is often child abuse
- Children will often blame themselves for domestic violence
- Alcohol misuse is a common contributing factor when violence occurs in families
- Pregnant women are more vulnerable to domestic violence and 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 are to blame for violence, especially if violence 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 These effects include: feeling frightened, becoming withdrawn, bedwetting, running away, aggressiveness, behavioural difficulties, problems with school, poor concentration and emotional turmoil.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 call the police who 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 violent and have children, you can seek help to stop what is happening.
Helpline: 0808 800 5000
Textphone: 0800 056 0566
Tel: 0808 800 2222
Tel: 0800 1111
National Domestic Violence Helpline - 24 hour freephone
Tel: 0808 2000 247
National Centre for Domestic Violence
Tel: 0844 8044 999
Liverpool Domestic Abuse Guidance - Adults and Children March 2021
Children's Commissioner - Are they shouting because of me? July 2018