16 Days of Activism 2020 – Day 2

Impact of Domestic abuse on children

How many children are impacted by domestic abuse?

As many as one in five children have been exposed to domestic abuse.
Imagine living in a household where one adult is abusive or violent to another adult. Now imagine living in that household as a terrified and helpless child.

Being exposed to abuse, violence and coercive and controlling behaviours has a devastating and life-long impact on children and young people.

The changes we’ve won are only the first step. Support for child victims of domestic abuse isn’t up to scratch yet. With your help, we can change that.

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, suicidal thoughts
  • attention seeking
  • bed-wetting, nightmares or insomnia
  • constant or regular sickness, like colds, headaches and mouth ulcers
  • drugs and alcohol abuse
  • eating disorders
  • problems in school or trouble learning
  • tantrums
  • withdrawal


How can we help?

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.
Helpful links for all victims of domestic abuse


0300 003 0396
You can talk to Relate about your relationship, including issues around domestic abuse.

National Domestic Violence Helpline
0808 2000 247
A 24 hour free helpline run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge.

Men’s Advice Line
0808 801 0327
Advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline
0800 999 5428
Emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse

Help to STOP Domestic abuse

Case study- Ollie, 6 years old

Above you will see a picture drawn by Ollie aged 6 years old. Ollie has witnessed domestic abuse within his home. Ollies domestic abuse consisted of physical and emotional abuse on himself and his mum and sister aged 2.

Ollie was punched, kicked and screamed at on a daily occurrence. He has been in to hospital 3 times for the injuries that he has endured.

Ollie hides with his sister upstairs when “he” comes home and begins to shout at mummy. Ollie has screamed at “him”  to stop hurting mummy and that he will be a good boy if he stops- but it never stops.

Ollie spoke to his teacher at school who listened and reported this to the appropriate organisations and helped Ollie and his family to safety. They will never have to endure hurt like this again.

Strategies for children who have experienced Domestic abuse

1) Breaks from class as and when needed
2) Safe place
3) Have someone who they are comfortable with and who will listen.
4) 121 where they can express emotion and do activities such as art and music (good therapy)
5) Give responsibilities such as help cook dinner
6) Refer to counselling if needed
7) Build strong friendship groups
8) Reassurance
9) Outside activities
10) Access to the hub if struggling at school

#femicide @womensaid #16DaysofActivism #orangetheworld #EVAWG2020

Categories: General