Children’s charity calls for government action - The Solihull Observer

Children’s charity calls for government action

Solihull Editorial 16th Jan, 2019   0

THE NSPCC is calling on the government to recognise the 961 Solihull children living with domestic abuse as victims under law.

The children’s charity claims the government will miss an opportunity to protect children if it ignores calls to recognise them as victims in their own right.

The NSPCC claims the government’s proposed new definition of domestic abuse ignores the effect growing up in abusive households has on children.

It is urging the government to publish its Domestic Violence and Abuse White Paper without delay and recognise children as victims in its domestic abuse laws.

Legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse would give children greater explicit protection through domestic abuse protection orders, help professionals to take action to protect children at risk, and help authorities ensure there are specific services to help young people overcome the trauma of exposure to domestic abuse.

The NSPCC received 7,377 contacts to its Helpline from members of the public concerned about children in domestic abuse situations in 2017/18.

The call is backed by brothers Luke and Ryan Hart whose father murdered their mother and sister in 2016 after two decades of domestic abuse.

Ryan said: “We didn’t recognise it as abuse because there was never any violence but it was coercive control, financial, emotional, psychological abuse.

“What is often missed is the effects of living in that environment has on kids, growing up not only witnessing abuse but experiencing it day in and day out, how that affects us growing up and into adult life.

“Children living with domestic abuse are not just witnesses to the abuse, they are victims themselves. Luke and I know first-hand the psychological effects, emotional effects can have on you by seeing someone you love being a victim of abuse.”

The NSPCCs’ head of policy Almudena Lara said: “It is quite astonishing that the government is dragging its feet when deciding whether to recognise young people as victims when almost a quarter of a million children that we know of are living with domestic abuse in England alone.

“As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services that understand the complex trauma children living with domestic abuse experience.

“For this to be done effectively we need government to open their eyes to the harm domestic abuse has on children and give them victim status in the upcoming White Paper to ensure they receive the services they need.”


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