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5. Effective practice when children are affected by domestic violence

  • In Scotland in 2006-7 at least 18,004 of the referrals to the Scottish Reporters’ Department concerned domestic abuse.
    Humphreys et al, 2008
    In England, domestic abuse, in conjunction with parental drug misuse and parental ill health, was found in over a half to three quarters of Serious Case Reviews.
    Brandon et al, 2008; Rose and Barnes, 2008
  • Children living with domestic abuse are at risk of significant harm. They are likely to experience significant physical, mental, social and behavioural difficulties, both as a child and later in life.
    Cleaver et al, 2007; Humphreys et al, 2008
  • An understanding of children’s views and perspectives on the abuse, and their participation in decision-making is essential. Children should be assisted to participate in decision-making. Research has shown that children may not feel safe even when the perpetrator has left the home, and that some children lack confidence and trust in professionals intervening in their lives around issues of domestic violence.
    Mullender et al, 2002; Humphreys et al, 2008
  • Studies have shown that in situations of domestic violence, families value being listened to and communicated with, being treated respectfully and being provided with appropriate long term support.
    Cleaver et al, 2007; Stafford et al, 2008
  • While the protection of the child is paramount, social workers also need to engage and help empower mothers to protect and care for their children. Mothers have expressed concern that they were not supported to deal with domestic abuse but rather blamed for not protecting their children. Positive outcomes can be achieved in cases of domestic violence where appropriate support services have been provided to mothers and children.
    Cleaver et al, 2007; Mullender et al, 2002; Humphreys et al, 2008