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Number of Children Affected by Domestic Abuse on the Rise
A child protection charity has published figures showing an increase of children affected by domestic abuse
Buttle UK, a child protection charity which offers support to children in crisis, received 9,909 referrals in 2016 about children affected by domestic abuse.
The rise is significant, with the figure showing an increase in referrals of 33.1% on the previous year, when Buttle supported 7,446 children. 3,384 of children referred in 2016 were aged four and under - in 2015 the figure was lower at 2,501. Furthermore, Gerri McAndrew, the charity’s chief executive, has warned that actual numbers of children witnessing and experiencing domestic abuse are likely to be higher.
Most of the reported cases involved children witnessing mental, physical and sexual abuse in their homes on an ongoing basis, with the affected children often displaying challenging or withdrawn behaviour.
McAndrew said that: "Support services often assume that a child's needs can be met by addressing the needs of the abused parent. The current government's policy on domestic violence has no specific provision for children affected by domestic abuse.” He continued, "We hope the next government will drive forward systemic change in how support services account for the needs of children."
In December 2016, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) published research which suggested that domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and parental mental health were all increasingly pressing reasons for the need of child protection services for families.
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