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Domestic Abuse / Violence

Domestic violence (also called Domestic Abuse) is a crime and a major social problem affecting many families. In 90% of reported domestic violence incidents, children have either been present in the same or a nearby room.

What is Domestic Abuse?

The Government, in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, defines domestic violence as ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexual orientation’.

Family members includes mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.

How does it affect children?

  • Domestic violence may teach children to use violence.
  • Violence can affect children in serious and long-lasting ways.
  • Where there is domestic violence there is often child abuse.
  • Children will often blame themselves for domestic violence.
  • Alcohol misuse is very common contributing factor when violence occurs in families.
  • Pregnant women are more vulnerable to domestic violence.

Children, who witness, intervene or hear incidents are affected in many ways. What can be guaranteed is that children do hear, they do see and they are aware of abuse in the family. Children will learn how to behave from examples parents set for them. Domestic violence teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:

  • It can teach them that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict.
  • They learn how to keep secrets.
  • They learn to mistrust those close to them and that children are responsible and to blame for violence, especially if violence erupts after an argument about the children.

Many people find it difficult to understand why people remain in or return to abusive violent situations. A combination of fear, love, the risk of homelessness and financial issues can make it very difficult for partners with children to leave and some may not want to.

Effects upon children

Children are affected in many ways by abuse, even after a short time. These effects include: feeling frightened, becoming withdrawn, bedwetting, running away, aggressiveness, behavioural difficulties, problems with school, poor concentration and emotional turmoil.

The longer children are exposed to abuse, the more severe the effects on them are. These can include:

  • A lack of respect for the non-violent parent.
  • Loss of self-confidence, which will affect their ability to form relationships in the future.
  • Being over-protective of parent.
  • Loss of childhood.
  • Problems at school.
  • Running away.

Support for survivors of domestic or sexual abuse in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex: www.theportal.org.uk 

Domestic violence is a crime. Never hesitate to call the police who have specialist domestic violence officers trained to help you and put you in touch with other agencies who can help you with safety planning, housing issues, drug or alcohol problems or give details of solicitors who can assist you with the legal side of things.

The Portal is a ‘one-stop shop’ for survivors in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex, website visitors can choose from a number of options, including advice for friends and family and a referral pathway for professionals. The Portal can make it simpler to quickly find the right help.

RISE is lead partner of The Portal, together with Survivors Network and CRI. Along with safe, women only, support, The Portal also offers specialist help to LGB&T* people, Heterosexual Men and members of the BME Community. The Portal will help people find the best support for them within the partnership, or in other organisations.

Freephone 0300 323 9985 or email info@theportal.org.uk

In an emergency call the police on 999

You can also use 101 to give information to the police or make an enquiry.

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