What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship. It can seriously harm children and young people and witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse. It’s important to remember domestic abuse:
can happen inside and outside the home
can happen over the phone, on the internet, and on social networking sites
can happen in any relationship and can continue even after the relationship has ended
people of any gender can be abused or abusers
Types of domestic abuse
Domestic abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual, financial, or psychological, such as:
kicking, hitting, punching, or cutting
rape (including in a relationship)
controlling someone’s finances by withholding money or stopping someone earning
controlling behaviour, like telling someone where they can go and what they can wear
not letting someone leave the house
reading emails, text messages or letters
threatening to kill someone or harm them
threats to another family member or pet.
Signs of domestic abuse
It can be difficult to tell if domestic abuse is happening and those carrying out the abuse can act very different when other people are around. Children and young people might also feel frightened and confused, keeping the abuse to themselves.
Signs that a child has witnessed domestic abuse can include:
aggression or bullying
anti-social behaviour, like vandalism
anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts
bed-wetting, nightmares or insomnia
drug or alcohol use
constant or regular sickness, like colds, headaches and mouth ulcers
problems in school or trouble learning
Effects of domestic abuse
Living in a home where domestic abuse happens can have a serious impact on a child or young person’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as their behaviour, and this can last into adulthood.
It’s important to make sure the abuse stops and that children have a safe and stable environment to grow up in.
Our services can support children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse to help them move on and receive the care they need.
If a child reveals abuse
If a child talks to you about domestic abuse it’s important to:
listen carefully to what they’re saying
let them know they’ve done the right thing by telling you
tell them it’s not their fault
say you’ll take them seriously
don’t confront the alleged abuser
explain what you’ll do next
report what the child has told you as soon as possible.