Children: The hidden victims of domestic abuse
The statistics involving domestic abuse and children continue to be shocking - a recent BBC report highlights that calls to the NSPCC about children witnessing the most serious forms of abuse have jumped 25% in a year. It is no wonder that while the new domestic abuse bill is ‘widely supported’, charities including Bernardo’s & Action for Children do not believe the bill goes far enough to try to help children affected by abuse.
The Children Act 1989 was amended to recognise that even witnessing or overhearing domestic violence causes harm to children and is therefore very relevant when considering child contact issues. Read our blog which explains the impact of domestic abuse on children & measures that can be taken to safeguard a child.
According to a report in 2016, Women’s Aid identified that 19 children were killed by their violent fathers in the last 10 years after being granted contact by Judges in Court.
Perpetrators of abuse are often able to continue to abuse the victim through Child Contact Arrangements which put the victim at risk as well as the children. It is therefore vital that expert advice is received if you have been a victim of domestic abuse.
Kirsty Richards, Head of Family comments:
The impact of abuse on children cannot be forgotten or overlooked in the drive to develop the law and protection in place for victims of domestic abuse. As a member of the law society’s children panel, I feel very strongly about the voice of the child and welcome any discussions around the child/ren of families where domestic abuse is an issue
Family Law Solicitors
At National Legal Service Solicitors, we understand the effects of domestic abuse on children - and when domestic abuse is present, contact with children may have to be specially considered. Our advice is clear and based on many years’ experience of children, families and the law.