Also called Domestic abuse 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.
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 stepfamily.
How does it affect children?
Children, who witness, intervene or hear incidents are affected in many ways. What can be guaranteed is that children do hear, they do see and they are aware of abuse in the family. Children will learn how to behave from examples parents set for them. Domestic violence teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:
- Domestic violence may teach children to use violence
- Where there is domestic violence there is often child abuse
- Children will often blame themselves for domestic violence
- Alcohol misuse is very common contributing factor when violence occurs in families
- They learn to mistrust those close to them or feel they are to blame.
- A lack of respect for the non-violent parent.
- Loss of self-confidence, which will affect their ability to form relationships in the future.
- Loss of childhood and being over-protective of parent.
- Feeling frightened, becoming withdrawn, bedwetting, running away, aggressiveness, behavioural difficulties, problems with school, poor concentration and emotional turmoil.
What can I do?
Domestic violence 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 side of things.
Merseyside Police Family Crime Investigation Unit can be
contacted on 0151 777 6010 or St Helens Council Domestic Violence
Unit on 07795 591137
In case of emergency, please dial 999.