Domestic abuse in the spotlight

We can improve the wellbeing of children who've been exposed to domestic abuse, says Peter Wanless

boy on stairsAround 1 in 5 children1 will be exposed to domestic abuse at some point during childhood. One third of these children will also experience at least one other form of abuse.

Children who are exposed to domestic abuse are often traumatised by the experience. The exposure can have a profound impact on a child's physical and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and their ability to build relationships.

We need to make sure that children have access to the right kind of support at the right time. 


Helping children after domestic abuse

Our services have shown that by focusing on family relationships, we can improve the outcomes for children who've been exposed to domestic abuse. But supporting children can be hard for parents who might be struggling to come to terms with their own abuse, or their own abusive behaviour.

That's why it's so important for services to provide the right kind of support, and to help families move on together.

We run 2 evidence-based services that help to rebuild relationships after domestic abuse: Domestic Abuse, Recover Together (DART) and Caring Dads, Safer Children

Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together

Our DART service is a group work programme for children aged 7-14 and mothers, aiming to improve communication between families and to help mothers feel more confident in their parenting role.

Read more about DART

Caring Dads, Safer Children

Caring Dads, Safer Children service works with fathers who’ve displayed abusive behaviours to examine their parenting and help keep their children safe.

Read more about Caring Dads, Safer Children

How we know what works

DART and Caring Dads, Safer Children have been evaluated using a mixed-method evaluation. We've found that users of both services experience significant improvements in family relationships.

  • our DART evaluation found that following the programme, children experienced fewer emotional and behavioural difficulties, and many found that their relationship with their mothers were warmer and more affectionate.
  • our Caring Dads, Safer Children evaluation found that as a result of the programme, many fathers experienced less stress in their parenting role, and children described experiencing more positive behaviour from their fathers. Fathers and partners also reported fewer incidents of domestic abuse following the programme. 

Get involved with DART

We're currently taking enquiries from organisations interested in delivering DART.

If you're interested in rolling out DART in your area, email dartenquiries@nspcc.org.uk

Register today

"Children who've been through domestic abuse present as being very angry and unable to manage their own emotions. From our point of view we know it's about seeing passed that behaviour - that's what's really important"
Lee / NSPCC Children's Service Practitioner

Learn more about domestic abuse

Signs, symptoms and effects

Find out about the signs, symptoms and effects of children witnessing domestic abuse or experiencing violence in their own relationships.

Spotting signs of domestic abuse

Who is affected by domestic abuse

It doesn't matter what your age, race, gender or sexuality is - anyone can be affected by domestic abuse.

Find out more about who is affected

Domestic abuse facts and statistics

A third of children witnessing domestic violence also experience another form of abuse.

See latest domestic abuse statistics

References

  1. Radford, L. et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC.