Domestic abuse against young grows, charity warns

Recent analysis by Buttle UK has shown a ‘staggering growth’ in the number of young victims exposed to domestic abuse with figures showing that the number of grants awarded to families affected by domestic abuse rose by 22 per cent between 2015 and 2016.  

Statistics showed nearly 10,000 children who were referred to the charity last year had been affected by domestic abuse – out of these 3,384 children were aged four or under. The figure represented a 35 per cent increase in the number of cases in this age group compared to the 2015.

Bottle UK’s grant-giving was setup to support children and young people who are in financial hardship and are dealing with other serious social issues. However, it cited domestic abuse is consistently becoming the primary reason across all of the nations as to why it receives referrals.

27 per cent of families who were referred to Buttle UK during the last five years, stated the primary or secondary reason for support was domestic abuse.  This equates to 15,483 of 57,024 cases.

The types of abuse registered included physical, mental and sexual abuse. In most cases the children had witnessed the abuse taking place in the home, often on an ongoing basis. The charity also noted that for many their behaviour had become either withdrawn or challenging as a result.

Commenting on the figures Gerri McAndrew, CEO of Buttle UK, said: “Domestic abuse is an extensive and largely under-reported problem across the UK.  Support services often assume that a child’s needs can be met by addressing the needs of the abused parent. The increase in referrals we have seen may be a result of better awareness of the issue in general, but we still believe that the specific issues that children face in these situations are not being identified and met.”