Domestic abuse: 75% rise in helpline contacts since 2011

10 adults a day now contact us worried about children living in a dangerous or risky home

Boy thinking

There's been a sharp rise in the number of adults worried about children suffering or witnessing physical violence and emotional abuse in their own home.

Our figures reveal:

    • a 75% increase in the last 5 years of adults concerned about domestic abuse, with 10 a day now getting in touch
    • 83% of contacts to our helpline last year were so serious that counsellors referred them onto external agencies such as the police or social services
    • more than half of these children we referred were under the age of 6.

We're launching a national TV advertising campaign on Saturday to raise awareness of what a child can achieve when freed from domestic abuse and allowed to dream.

Spotting the signs

Signs that a child might be living in a home where domestic abuse is taking place include:

    • becoming aggressive
    • displaying anti-social behaviour
    • suffering from depression or anxiety
    • not doing as well at school.

Worried about a child?

Contact our trained helpline counsellors for 24/7 help, advice and support.

0808 800 5000

Report a concern

"There seems to be a lot of trouble in the family home. Mum and Dad fight a lot and I think Mum is being beaten by Dad. Mum seems to take it out on the kids. She’s constantly slapping them, pushing them around and verbally abusing them. "
Caller talking to our helpline

Support for children and families

News of the 5-year increase comes in the same month as the Crown Prosecution Service revealed that in 2015/16, over 100,000 people were prosecuted and more than 75,000 convicted for cases of domestic abuse. This is the highest volume on record.

We run a specially designed service called Domestic Abuse Recovering Together (DART) to help those suffering violence at home.

It provides a safe environment for children and their mothers to learn to communicate and rebuild their relationship.

They can also meet other mums and children who have lived through similar experiences, and share what they've learned.

Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together

Helping mums and children strengthen their relationship after domestic abuse.
DART - Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together service

"I'm worried about a young Mum I know. I’ve seen her with bruises on her arms and legs and I’m worried that her new boyfriend is being violent towards her. She has a baby at home who could be at risk if there is violence in the home. I’m concerned that she isn’t looking after herself and may need some support to look after the baby too."
Caller talking to our helpline

Peter Wanless

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said:

"Home should be a haven for children where they feel safe and loved and encouraged to dream big.

"It is vital that we don't allow children suffering by living in a home plagued by domestic abuse to remain in the shadows.

"Anyone who is either a victim of abuse, suspects it is taking place or is worried about a child should report their concerns to the police or contact the NSPCC. There are people ready to listen and do everything they can to ensure that the children involved get to grow up in a happy environment."

More information

Domestic abuse

Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships. 
Read more about domestic abuse

Keeping children safe

Find out how you can keep children safe from abuse and other dangers, both online and in the physical world.
Learn how to keep them safe

Donate now

Abuse changes childhoods. But so can we. Your donation will help make sure we're there, whenever a child needs us.

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  1. In 2015/16 there were 3,883 contacts made to the NSPCC Helpline by adults concerned about the welfare of children, compared to 2,223 in 2011/12.

  2. Of these 83% (3,240) involving 5,650 children led to referrals to external agencies such as police and the social services. More than half of these children were aged under 6.