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Domestic Abuse

Click on the link to view the SCB Domestic Violence and Abuse Procedure D05 and strategy

The Treated Badly website contains Help and Advice on Domestic Abuse -

New government domestic violence and abuse definition issued 31/03/13.  Click on the link to view.

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Domestic abuse is a crime and a major social problem affecting many families. It is a controlling behaviour and a misuse of power, and includes all kinds of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse. Children may experience many different effects from witnessing domestic abuse, both in the short and long term, which may affect them. Even if a child is not in the same room when the abuse occurs, hearing the ill treatment of another person can still harm them.

Did you know…?

  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives.
  • Men can also suffer from domestic abuse.
  • Domestic abuse takes many forms from emotional and financial, to physical or sexual abuse.
  • Where there is domestic abuse there may be child abuse.
  • Children will often blame themselves for domestic abuse.
  • Children may often feel obliged to lie for their parent and are reluctant to speak to other adults about the situation.
  • Women are often most vulnerable during pregnancy.
  • Where there is domestic abuse there is more likely to be cruelty to animals – this can be used as a further means of control.

How does it affect children?
The emotional impact on a child living in a violent household should not be underestimated, and it is overwhelmingly women and children who are affected by domestic abuse and men who are abusers, although some men are abused also.

Children, who witness, intervene or hear incidents of domestic abuse are affected in many ways. Each child is an individual and so responses will vary, but what can be guaranteed is that children do hear it, see it, and they are aware of such abuse taking place in the family. Children learn by example, and domestic abuse teaches negative things about relationships and how to deal with people.

For example:

  • It can teach children that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict.
  • Children may learn how to keep inappropriate secrets.
  • Children can learn to mistrust those close to them.
  • Children may blame themselves for the abuse, especially if violence erupts after an argument about the children.

Younger Children might experience:

  • Bedwetting.
  • Nightmares.
  • Feelings of guilt and blame.
  • Fear and insecurity.
  • Emotional confusion.
  • Problems at school.

Older children may:

  • Copy the abuser's behaviour.
  • Be unable to form positive trusting relationships.
  • Be depressed, anxious or fearful.
  • Be very demanding.
  • Use drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Exhibit aggressive behaviour and showing anger.

Children of all ages
The longer children are exposed to violence and abuse, the more severe the effects on them are. Any type of abuse between adults will have a negative effect on a child. This may include:

  • A lack of respect for the non-violent parent.
  • Loss of confidence and self esteem, impacting in every area of life.
  • Being overly-protective of their parent.
  • Loss of childhood.
  • Difficulties with their own relationships.
  • Problems at school.
  • Running away.

Effects on the adult being abused include:

  • Loss of confidence and self esteem as an individual and a parent.
  • Being unable to bond with their child.
  • Not knowing what to say to their child.
  • Being unable to deal with their child's behaviour.
  • Feeling emotionally and physically drained.
  • Feeling undermined as an individual and a parent. 

Why do women stay?
Many people find it difficult to understand why women remain in or return to abusive situations. A combination of fear, love, the risk of homelessness and financial issues can make it very difficult for women with children to leave. Some women will want to remain in the family home and have the perpetrator leave. For some women, concern for the family pet can also be a factor.

Take action

You are not alone and are not to blame – speak to someone who understands and get support.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse you can seek support from one or more of the agencies listed below or call Refuge's free phone 24 hour helpline on 0808 2000 247.

ARCH North Staffs - Services available in North Staffs

If you are worried about domestic abuse and the effects it is having on you and your children, you can get in touch with one of the agencies listed under contacts on this website.

If you would like details of solicitors in your area who deal with family law, contact the Law Society on 020 7242 1222 or look in the yellow pages.

Supporting children
Children need time to discuss the feelings they have about the violence. They need to know that it is not their fault, and this is not the way relationships should be.

Preventing abuse
A violent partner can seek support in stopping their abusive and violent behaviour. If you are violent and have children, you can get support to stop what is happening. You can call the Respect Phone line on 0845 122 8609.

The Home Office have issed advise on Domestic Violence - click on the link

What are Domestic Violence Protection Notices and Orders? The relevant statutory provisions are contained in section 24 - 33 of the Crime and Security Act 2010 - click on the link.

The domestic Abuse Disclosure Scheme

The scheme is more commonly known as “Clare’s Law” and commemorates Clare Wood who was murdered by her violent ex-partner, George Appleton at her home in 2009.  This case bought to national attention the issue of disclosing information about an individual’s history of domestic abuse to a new partner or current partner.  Clare was unaware of Appleton’s history of violence against women and following her death, her family campaigned for a change in the law to support actual, and potential victims of domestic abuse.

The scheme aims to prevent women or men from becoming victims of domestic abuse by providing a formal method of making enquiries about an individual who they are in a current intimate relationship with or considering starting a relationship with.

The aim is to help the potential victim make an informed decision on whether or not to continue with the relationship and will also provide further help and support to assist them if they make the decision to leave safely. This work is usually done by the Police in conjunction with an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA).

There are two routes into the scheme:

The Right to Ask:-

An application can be made by the person themselves (Person at Risk - PAR) or someone on their behalf such as a professional, family member, neighbour or friend who has concerns about “the Subject”.  Requests using the scheme as a “Right to Ask” can be done by visiting a local police station or phoning 101 and asking for an application under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or Clare’s Law.  This process will take up to 35 working days and the person making the application, if it not the PAR, will not necessarily know the result of any disclosure, that will be done to the PAR themselves. Only when the applicant is the person best placed to safeguard the PAR would they know the outcome of the disclosure.

The Right to Know:-

Indirect information is received that the Subject is known for violent or abusive behaviour within a relationship and there are serious concerns for the safety of a new or potential new partner if they were to be in a relationship with the subject.

Indirect Information is likely to come from
1. A criminal investigation
2. Partner agencies
3. Intelligence sources
4. The PAR and the Subject coming into contact with police or partners as part of their routine duties

Requests using the scheme as a “Right to Know” are also currently progressed by visiting a local police station or phoning 101 and asking for an application as a “Right to Know” under the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme or Clare’s Law.

How does it work for Professionals?

Professionals can make requests using the scheme as a “Right to ask” by visiting a local police station or phoning 101 as above.

For social care practitioners:

If a family is currently an open case to a social worker and they are aware of information that they believe a parent / carer needs to know in order to safeguard children, the social worker can make the relevant disclosure to the parent / carer.

The police information to be disclosed is at the discretion of the Social Worker as per their policies and procedures but must be proportionate and relevant to the domestic abuse or violent offending history.

Police and Child Social Care are currently reviewing the existing disclosure processes and updates will be given once that review is completed in the New Year.

For further advice, please email
Clare's Law - This leaflet is for you If you are concerned that someone you know may be in a relationship and is at risk of domestic violence, click on the link

Domestic Abuse Research 2013 has been produced by Durham University click on this link to view the document.

Domestic Homicide Review - Lessons Learned has been produced by the Home Office, click on this link to view the document.

To view Real Safeguarding Domestic Abuse stories click on this link.

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