We’ve seen an increase in the number of children and young people needing specialist domestic abuse support.
It comes as figures from the NSPCC say they’ve also seen the number of children witnessing domestic abuse at home rise by 25% in the last year.
Ruth Mason-Tooth, is Glow’s Young Person’s Violence Advisor (YPVA) and works in the domestic abuse education & prevention team: “These statistics, while shocking are not surprising and I would expect them to continue to rise unless children and young people are recognised as victims of domestic abuse wherever this occurs.’’
She says she’s also seen first-hand an increase in levels of violence experienced by young people in their own relationships and an increase in the level of sophistication used by perpetrators to coerce and control their partners: “This behaviour is becoming increasingly normalised by young people therefore it is imperative that our education and prevention service reaches far and wide.”
She says witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse can have severe, immediate and long-term effects on children and young people’s physical and mental wellbeing. It impacts on their ability to engage with education, control risk-taking behaviour, and reduces future aspirations and prevents them from achieving their potential: “Evidence shows that adverse childhood experiences can affect physical health, mental health and future life chances.
“People with 6 or more adverse childhood experiences are likely to die 20 years earlier than those with none. This is why it’s essential that children living with domestic abuse are able to access specialist services.
At Glow, we support children and young people who have witnessed domestic abuse in their home or are in an abusive relationship themselves.
Our one to one support is currently available to children and young people in Newcastle-under-Lyme and is tailored to their needs, which includes safety planning, healthy and unhealthy relationships and feelings and behaviours.
We also run relationship education programmes in schools and community groups, which aims to break the cycle of domestic abuse by helping children understand healthy relationships and what to do if they experience domestic abuse, either at home in their future relationships.
Sarah Buckley is Glow’s Programme Lead for domestic abuse education and prevention. She says: “Domestic Abuse is everyone’s problem and its vital we start educating our children and young people as soon as possible to prevent the stats rising even further.”