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Domestic Abuse

Domestic 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 abuseis 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 These effects include: feeling frightened, becoming withdrawn, bedwetting, running away, aggressiveness, behavioural difficulties, problems with school, poor concentration and emotional turmoil.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 abuse, there is often child abuse
  • Children will often blame themselves for domestic abuse
  • Alcohol misuse is a very common contributing factor when violence occurs in families
  • Pregnant women are more vulnerable to domestic abuse

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 abuse 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 abuse, especially if violence erupts after an argument about the children

Adolescent to Parent Violence (APV) / Child to Parent Violence (CPV)

Adolescent to Parent Violence (APV) or Child to Parent Violence (CPV) can be defined as ‘abusive behaviour perpetrated by a son or daughter (who is legally recognised as a child and is most likely still living in the family home) against a parent.
Abusive behaviours which are recognised to be involved in APV include but are not limited to, threats, name calling, humiliation, threats to harm themselves or others, property damage, physical violence and theft (Holt, 2015).

APV is not restricted to violence by an adolescent against a parent; it extends to violence against a family member who is acting as a parent i.e. common-law in-laws, foster family, grandparents, aunt or uncle. It must be acknowledged that there is the potential for APV to occur even when the adolescent does not live in the same property as their parents.

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 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.

Services for men and woman experiencing domestic violence both locally and nationally, who can provide advice and support on a wide range of issues can be found below and on our National Resources webpage

Paragon  is the Isle of Wight’s domestic abuse and sexual crime service provider. They also provide support and services to parents and carers who are experiencing child to parent violence. Abuse can be reported via their freephone helpline on 0800 234 6266 . You can also email them at  ParagonIOW@theyoutrust.org.uk Paragon Leaflet  and  website

National Domestic Abuse Helpline   provides support and information to those who have, or are, experiencing, violence and abuse. Run by specialist services to help survivor’s access safety and rebuild their lives. Contact them on 0808 2000 247 any time day or night 


Men’s Advice line   is a confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic violence from a partner or ex-partner (or from other family members).  Call free on 0808 801 0327 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm or email info@mensadviceline.org.uk 

Do you recognise that you are abusive to your partner? 
Are you concerned that your behaviour towards your partner is costing your relationship? Are you worried your children are witnessing too many arguments between their parents? You can refer yourself to the Hampton's Trust who provide a service for perpetrators:
The Hampton Trust provide a range of services for perpetrators to encourage healthy, non-abusive relationships. Contact the service on 02380 009898 and visit the Hampton Trust website.