Children & Young People

Observing Children

Children and young people can experience domestic abuse at several stages in their life. ‘the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 recognises children as victims of abuse in their own right.’

Domestic abuse can be worse during pregnancy and physical violence can affect the unborn child in many different ways including miscarriage, still birth and premature birth. Violence and psychological stress inflicted on the mother can also lead to physical and mental illness.

Children can experience domestic abuse at home between parents and guardians.

Children often develop anxiety, depression, aggression and even post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of living with abuse.

The psychological impact of living with domestic abuse is no smaller than the impact of being physically abused.

Older children can also experience domestic abuse in the form of teenage relationship abuse.

It is recognised that violence and abuse does not just occur within adult/co-habiting relationships.

If you suspect children are at risk of harm from domestic violence, you must follow your local Safeguarding Children procedures.

In Cambridgeshire, we use the Barnardo’s Domestic Violence Risk Indicator Matrix (DVRIM) to identify risk to children living with domestic abuse.

The form and the latest safeguarding procedures can be found on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children Partnership Board website:

Teenagers and Abusive Relationships

Several independent studies have shown that 40% of teenagers are in abusive dating relationships.

The latest Health-Related Behaviour Questionnaire results report ‘Young People Into 2018’ shows that around one third of pupils in year 8 and year 10 have experienced behaviours such as jealousy, threats and even hitting from current or ex boyfriends of girlfriends.

Teenage romantic relationships can often be short-lived but they are experienced as intensely as adult relationships. Unfortunately, parents and professionals do not always take these relationships seriously enough.

Teenagers in abusive relationships can experience the same as adults. Below are some further indicators:

  • Their boyfriend of girlfriend gets upset or angry if they spend time with friends.
  • He or she may feel pressured into doing what their partner says, including having sex.
  • Their boyfriend or girlfriend might insist on checking their phone or asking who they have spoken to.
  • Calling their partner names or saying nasty things about her/him to, or in front of, other people.
  • Threatening to spread rumours about him or her.

The Government have set up a website called Disrespect Nobody where you can find information and seek help. You can also use their message boards to have your say.

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