Domestic Violence & Abuse

Domestic violence and abuse is: "Any incident of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality”. In nine out of ten cases, children are in the same or next room when the violence is going on and so the domestic abuse impacts on their wellbeing.

How does it affect children?

Children are affected in many ways by abuse, even after a short time. These effects include: feeling frightened, becoming withdrawn, bedwetting, running away, aggressiveness, behavioural difficulties, problems with school, poor concentration and emotional turmoil. The longer children are exposed to abuse, the more severe the effects on them are.

  • Domestic violence may teach children to use violence
  • Violence can affect children in serious and long-lasting ways
  • Where there is domestic violence, there is often child abuse
  • Children will often blame themselves for domestic violence
  • Alcohol misuse is a very common contributing factor when violence occurs in families
  • Pregnant women are more vulnerable to domestic violence

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/carers set for them. Domestic violence teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:

  • It can teach them that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict
  • They learn how to keep secrets
  • They learn to mistrust those close to them and that children are responsible and to blame for violence, especially if violence erupts after an argument about the children

Coercive Control

The Serious Crime Act 2015 creates a new offence of repeated or continuous controlling or coercive behaviour in intimate or familial relationships where the victim and perpetrator are personally contacted. The new offence closes a gap in the law around patterns of controlling or coercive behaviour in an ongoing relationship between intimate partners or family members. The offence carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment, a fine or both.

Coercive behaviour is a continuing act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim. This form of domestic abuse will have a detrimental impact on children living in this environment

What Can I Do?

Domestic violence and abuse is a crime, never hesitate to call the police who have specialist 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.

There are free services for men and woman experiencing domestic violence to access advice and support on a wide range of issues. Links to these organisations who can help and support you can be found in the Parents & Carers Resources.

Parents & Carers Resources

Worried About A Child or Do You Need Help?

Children’s Reception Team
(IOW Social Care)

Phone Number: 0300 300 0117. Call any time day or night

Report your concerns about yourself, a child or friend to Children’s Reception Team (IOW Social Care)

Police

If there is immediate danger call 999

Phone Number: 0808 800 5000 or if you are 18 or under call 0800 11 11

A leading children's charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. They help children who have been abused to rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse from ever happening.

Phone Number: 0800 11 11

A free, private and confidential service where you can be you. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, however you want to get in touch. We're here for you online, on the phone, anytime.