This is Abuse – Abuse is not normal and never ok. If you are in a relationship with someone, you should feel loved, safe, respected and free to be yourself. There are different forms of abuse, which you can find out about here, but if your relationship leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled, it’s possible you’re in an abusive relationship. The Home Office has launched the This is Abuse campaign Find out more about the issue, have your say and seek help here.
Care Versus Control: Healthy Relationships (2013). Women’s Aid worked in partnership with Girlguiding to promote respectful and healthy relationships and girls’ right to feel safe, have respect, be free to pursue a happy life and fulfil their potential. The research found that from a young age too many girls regularly tolerate behaviour rooted in jealousy and lack of trust, and have a tendency to reframe it as genuine care and concern for their welfare. Click here for the full report
Women’s Aid Federation launches Teenspeak – a series of short films answering questions from young people about domestic violence
Earlier in the Autumn we invited young people across the country to put their questions and suggestions about domestic violence to the most influential people in government, schools, the police force and social services. The questions and answers have been made into five films, and the first of these was launched on 1 November at the British Film Institute during the two day Refuge in Films Festival. The films have been posted on the Hideout and on Youtube, where you can leave questions and comments. The short films were created as an educational resource that schools and youth settings are able to use freely to encourage discussion about domestic abuse and what each person can do to help eradicate it. Click here to view the site
Rights of Women research report (November 2012) with CWASU, Picking up the pieces: domestic violence and child contact Picking_Up_the_Pieces_Report_final
The exposure to domestic violence between adults within a family is now recognised as always being emotionally abusive to children although the impact on an individual child may vary. More subtly abusive behaviour in families (such as depriving of food, denigrating, humiliating and threatening behaviour) is also emotionally abusive and may not come to the notice of outside agencies. For some children the harm they experience will be “significant”.
Domestic abuse generates feelings of uncertainty, loss, helplessness and traumatic stress in adults and children on the receiving end of it, whilst reinforcing feelings of power and control in the perpetrator. Children are likely to be affected by fear, distress and disruption to their family life. Additionally, children living with domestic abuse are more likely to experience direct physical and sexual assault and they may also witness their mother/carer being abused in the same way (McGee 2000). Domestic abuse affects the way children are parented. In almost a third of cases, domestic abuse of women begins and escalates during pregnancy, which may result in miscarriage, premature birth, foetal injury or death. Where there has been domestic abuse in a relationship, the risk of serious injury and death increases at the point of the victim separating from the perpetrator and reconciliation or any contact can also be extremely risky.
The experience of domestic abuse affects child development in a range of ways and is likely to seriously affect the ability of children to achieve the 5 outcomes identified in Every Child Matters. Staff must therefore work together with families, communities and children themselves, in order to safeguard children from domestic abuse, and its consequences on their life chances and health.”The impact of domestic abuse on children in relation to achieving the 5 Outcomes
- To be healthy Places additional pressure on children as they are developing. Causes trauma responses that can affect emotional and social well-being. Leads to more extremes of behaviour such as risk taking and self-harm.
- To stay safe Puts children and young people at increased risk of physical and/or sexual abuse by the perpetrator Increases the risk of being killed by the perpetrator Means that children do not feel safe in their own home..
- To enjoy and achieve Places additional responsibilities on children and young people. Leads to disrupted school attendance. Affects the capacity to learn Makes it hard to relax and have fun.
- To make a positive contribution Affects how and what children learn about relating to each other. Can push children and young people into parenting their own siblings and/or parents. Influences the way children think about whom they are and how they feel about their future.
- To achieve economic well-being Places children and young people at risk of economic hardship. Increases the chance of moving away from family support and community infrastructure.