NSPCC says sex abuse against kids rising
The NSPCC says it has recorded a 77% spike in reports of children affected by domestic abuse NSPCC.org.uk

One in five children in the UK has been exposed to domestic violence with the country suffering a significant spike in reports, a children's charity has found.

The NSPCC says last year it received its highest ever number of calls from adults concerned about violent and abusive behaviour around children, reaching 4,749 – a 77% rise from 2012/13.

Some 85% of contacts were said to be so serious that they were referred on to other agencies, such as the police or social services.

One caller to the NSPCC helpline, whose identity was not revealed by the charity, told call handlers: "The mother is always covered head to toe in bruises and I have seen both mother and the father screaming at each other in the street in front of the children.

"The father is very aggressive and controlling towards her and the children and I'm worried about what the two children might be experiencing in the home. I have previously seen the father handle the children very roughly and they both seem terrified of him."

The NSPCC research, published on Friday (22 September), shows a third of the 20% of children aged 11 to 17 who have been exposed to domestic violence also experienced another form of abuse.

The scale of the problem has seen the charity begin piloting an early-intervention service called Steps to Safety which helps families to "reduce stress, manage emotions, and respond calmly to conflict".

The organisation's Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together service also aims to help survivors get their lives back on track.

"Domestic abuse can have a huge impact on a child's physical and emotional well-being, and this sharp increase in reports shows that more people are speaking up on behalf of frightened children living in violent homes," NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said.

"We all have a part to play in tackling domestic abuse, and it's important to pick up the phone if you're concerned so that our trained advisers can offer non-judgemental advice, discuss possibilities and take action where necessary.

"Stepping in early and putting the child at the heart of all decisions in domestic abuse cases is vital in keeping children safe.

"It is vital that young people affected by domestic abuse have access to the right kind of support."

The new figures come after Ofsted called for a greater emphasis on prevention of domestic abuse and repairing long-term damage to child victims.

Children and young people who are worried about domestic abuse can call the NSPCC's Childline on 0800 11 11.