Domestic abuse and children

Children see and hear a lot more than we think. If there is domestic abuse in the household the children will be affected by it.

Research from Women's Aid suggests that:

  • One in seven (14.2%) children and young people under the age of 18 will have lived with domestic violence at some point in their childhood.
  • Between January 2005 and August 2015 (inclusive) 19 children and two women were killed by perpetrators of domestic abuse in circumstances relating to child contact (formally or informally arranged) (Women’s Aid, 2016).
  • Research published by Cafcass in 2017, in partnership with Women’s Aid, analysed a sample of 216 child contact cases that closed to Cafcass between April 2015 and March 2016. It found that more than two thirds of the cases in the sample involved allegations of domestic abuse, yet in 23% of these cases, unsupervised contact was ordered at the first hearing.

In a 2021 domestic abuse survey in Doncaster, 100 survivors responded with information about their experiences to help improve support and services in the future.  These are just a few of the comments from survivors about the impact of domestic abuse on their children:

  • All four children were affected differently. Eldest boy began damaging his room and the staircase. Problems at school. Very angry. All had some kind of therapy which I had to fight very hard for. Youngest boy was a baby so was unaware of these events. He found out later in a very traumatic way via his father. This resulted in me having to deal with the consequences of this abuse 16 years later.
  • They were teenagers at the time. They left home earlier than they would have. One ended up homeless for a period of time. Both got into bad company and made poor decisions that landed them in trouble with the law.
  • Lack of confidence; suffers from anxiety; is afraid of commitment or of getting too close to anyone.
  • Two have remembered things that happened even though I thought I had hidden it and one is repeating the behaviour.
  • I don't know, and that does worry me. They knew they were loved by both parties so that is the main thing I think.  But I would not want a dad like they have.  That must be hard.  I think their behaviour is bad because of copying.
  • He was a baby so he did not understand but he was grumpy all the time. He would jut cry, some times up to 6 hours and want feeding every hour. When I left it stopped over night. He was emotionally and financially abusive so it was not the noise nor was he ever physically hurt.
Please reach out for support.  You will not be blamed.  You might have been told as part of the abuse that your children will be taken away from you.  That is a myth often used by abusers to control and manipulate you.  Doncaster services want to work with you to keep you and your children safe and free from abuse. 

If you are under 16 years of age and worried about domestic abuse you can call ChildLine on 0800 1111 or call the NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000.  You can also text the NSPCC on 88858.

If you are experiencing abuse and would like help for you and your children

Remember, abuse is never your fault, and you have the right to be safe and so do your children.

Please call the Doncaster domestic abuse hub on 01302 737080.  The helpline is open Monday - Friday 9am-4.30pm.

You can also contact Doncaster Children's Services Trust on 01302 734100 between 8:30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours call the Trust on 01302 796000.

In an emergency always dial 999.  You can also report abuse to South Yorkshire Police if it is not an emergency by dialing 101.

If you suspect your own behaviour is abusive call the Respect Helpline on 0808 8024040.

Return to the Domestic Abuse homepage

Last updated: 23 June 2022 10:20:13