Domestic Violence Against Children
In 2006, the United Nations published a case study report on “Violence Against All Children Around the World”. This study built on the UN’s “Impact of Armed Conflict on Children” study of 1996 and was the first global study to engage directly with children.
The report addressed violence against children within different settings including the home and revealed devastating and continued violence against children in all countries of the world.
The report found that between 133-275 million children every year, witness domestic violence with over 50,000 children a year dying as a result of murder and 1-2 million children treated in hospitals for violence-related injuries.
The report goes on to highlight that the majority of all violent acts against children are committed by people who are part of their lives: parents, teachers, friends, employers and caregivers.
In the UK, the NSPCC estimate that;
- Every 100 days, 205,000 children will witness domestic violence.
- Each year, “ChildLine” counsellors will speak to nearly 50,000 children who had been affected by bullying or physical abuse.
- 1 in 6 children will be sexually abused before their 16th birthday.
A 2007 survey carried out by NSPCC revealed that 4 out of every 5 boys aged 11-16 said violence is ‘a major problem for young people nowadays’, with 2 in 5 seeing it as simply ‘part of growing up’. 1 in 3 said they found it difficult to talk to anyone about violence.
This survey also found that 1 in 4 children had witnessed domestic violence between adult family members. Around half of the most recent incidents (47%) involved physical assaults and 13% the use of an object or weapon. One third of young people (32%) believed that those responsible for the abuse last time had been drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
Like most domestic violence, violence towards children has been “brushed under the carpet”, ignored by UK society but with child suicides and severe neglect cases rising can we really afford to continue to ignore it? Even as far back as 1996, over one million UK-based children contacted the NSPCC after it encouraged them to speak out about sexual abuse.
The children’s charity “Save the Children” have produced some helpful booklets on the subject of domestic violence against children. “Safe Learning” offers detailed guidance for schools on developing strategies to support vulnerable children by:
- Raising awareness and understanding of domestic violence amongst teachers and pupils.
- Identifying children and young people affected by domestic violence.
- Ensuring children’s safety.
- Integrating children who arrive at short notice to escape abuse.
The booklet “Children, Domestic Violence in Rural Areas” also addresses two distinct gaps in domestic violence research and service provision:
1. Services targeted specifically at children and young people.
2. What is distinctive about services in rural areas for children and young people who experience domestic violence.
For help, advice or further information regarding Domestic Violence Against Children contact Save the Children or the NSPCC or UNICEF.