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Domestic abuse

Research

This page summarises a selection of recent research into domestic abuse and children. Please contact the NSPCC’s free Information Service if you require a bespoke reading list.

Contact

Domestic violence, child contact, post-separation violence: issues for South Asian and African-Caribbean women and children: a report of findings, a research report published by the NSPCC, reviews knowledge around domestic abuse and child contact. It has a particular focus on separated South Asian and African-Caribbean mothers who had experienced domestic abuse and who are involved in contact disputes with their ex-partners. It found that control and isolation and fear of abduction and/or separation from their children were significant issues for all the mothers interviewed, and mothers from both communities were likely to under-report abuse (Thiara et al, 2012).

Services

Meeting the needs of children living with domestic violence in London, a research report by the NSPCC and Refuge, looked at the support given to children, young people and their mothers living with domestic abuse. It found that there are significant gaps in, and a need for more equality of access to, services, and that children are rarely given a chance to express their views (Radford et al, 2011).

Working with risky fathers: fathers matter, published by the Family Rights Group, presents the findings from a two year research study which examined how social workers work with domestically abusive fathers. It found that 88% of fathers surveyed were still in contact with their children, and there was a lack of assessment and information about the parenting capacity of 61% of these fathers (Ashley et al, 2011).

A different world is possible: a call for long-term and targeted action to prevent violence against women and girls, published by The End Violence Against Women Coalition, calls for the prevention of violence against women and girls to be part of the education system, in an effort to prevent abuse before it happens. It makes several recommendations, including a call for prevention of violence against women and girls to be a national priority in schools, and to be addressed by the National Curriculum (Cerise, 2011). The second half of the report, A different world is possible: promising practices to prevent violence against women and girls, profiles 15 prevention programmes which have proved successful (Banos Smith, 2011).

Teenage relationships

'Standing on my own two feet’: disadvantaged teenagers, intimate partner violence and coercive control, a research report published by the NSPCC and the University of Bristol looked at disadvantaged young people's experiences of intimate partner abuse and coercive control. It found that over half of the girls and over a quarter of the boys interviewed had been the victim of physical abuse in one of their relationships, and two thirds of girls and a third of boys reported experiencing emotional abuse (Wood et al, 2011). This research builds upon a larger 2009 NSPCC study into abuse in teenage relationships, Partner exploitation and violence in teenage intimate relationships, which provided a picture of the incidence and impact of teenage partner abuse in Great Britain (Barter et al 2009).

Gangs and youth violence

This is it. this is my life, published by ROTA (Race On The Agenda), is the final report of the Female Voice in Violence project. The project examined the impact of gangs and youth violence on women and girls in Manchester, London, Birmingham and Liverpool, in March 2011. It recommends that gang related and serious youth violence affecting girls under the age of 18 be acknowledged as a child protection issue, and that national guidance and local action be implemented to identify and protect vulnerable women and girls (Firmin, 2011).

Domestic abuse and children

Children living with domestic abuse, a briefing published by the Scottish Child Care and Protection Network, highlights key issues for children and young people living with domestic abuse, with particular reference to the Scottish policy context. It draws out messages for practice and signposts to further information. (Sharp et al, 2011)

Children experiencing domestic violence: a research review, published by Research in Practice, summarises research and evidence on how domestic abuse affects children. It looks at prevalence, social circumstances, effect on parenting, children’s health and development, and young people’s intimate relationships. Findings include: domestic abuse is an indicator for child abuse and neglect; targeted early intervention programmes have been successful; separation from the perpetrator does not reduce risk; and mothers' parenting is often adversely affected. A subscription to Research in Practice is required to view this resource (Stanley, 2011).

Five years on: a global update on violence against children, published by the International NGO Advisory Council for follow-up to the UN Secretary General's Study on Violence Against Children in 2011, summarises the state of violence against children in the five years since the release of the World Report on Violence against Children (Pinheiro, 2006). It is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive, but it is illustrative of the continued pervasiveness of violence in children's lives. It presents data from reports from academic researchers, UN agencies, and non-governmental organisations. Chapters look at violence in: the home and family; schools; care and justice institutions; workplace; and in the community. It finds that violence continues against children in all settings and may be on the increase in some settings.

References

Ashley, C. (ed), Roskill, C., Fraser, C., Featherstone, B., Haresnape, S.and Lindley, B. (2011) Working with risky fathers: Fathers Matter Volume 3: Research findings on working with domestically abusive fathers and their involvement with children’s social care services. London: Family Rights Group.

Banos Smith, Maria (2011) A different world is possible: promising practices to prevent violence against women and girls. London: End Violence Against Women Coalition.

Barter, C., McCarry, M., Berridge, D. and Evans, K. (2009) Partner exploitation and violence in teenage intimate relationships. London: NSPCC.

Cerise, Somali (2011) A Different World is Possible: a call for long-term and targeted action to prevent violence against women and girls. London: End Violence Against Women Coalition.

Covell, Katherine et al (2011) Five years on: a global update on violence against children. Geneva: International NGO Advisory Council for follow-up to the UN Secretary General's Study on Violence Against Children.

Firmin, Carlene (2011) This is it. this is my life. London: Race on the Agenda (ROTA).

Pinheiro, P.S. (2006) World report on violence against children. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Secretary-General's Study on Violence against Children.

Radford, L., Aitken, R., Miller, P., Ellis, J., Roberts, J. and Firkic, A. (2011) Meeting the needs of children living with domestic violence in London. London: NSPCC/Refuge.

Sharp, C. and Jones. J. (2011) Children living with domestic abuse: briefing. Stirling: Scottish Child Care and Protection Network.

Stanley, Nicky (2011) Children experiencing domestic violence: a research review. Totnes, Devon: ResearchinPractice

Thiara, Ravi K. and Gill, Aisha K. (2012) Domestic violence, child contact, post-separation violence: issues for South Asian and African-Caribbean women and children: a report of findings. London: NSPCC.

Wood, M., Barter, C. and Berridge, D. (2011) ‘Standing on my own two feet’: disadvantaged teenagers, intimate partner violence and coercive control. London: NSPCC.



Contact the NSPCC Information Service if you have questions about the NSPCC, domestic abuse or any child protection topic

Physical abuse in high risk families is an NSPCC priority