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In July 2016, Lance Hart brutally shot dead his wife Claire, 50 years old and his only daughter, Charlotte, 19 years old in a leisure centre car park, in Lincolnshire. He then turned the gun on himself.

Now his two sons, Luke and Ryan Hart are asking that children should be given legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse.

The Government figures show, that up to 250,000 children are currently living in a household where domestic abuse is a common occurrence.

The NSPCC believes that the Governments Domestic Violence and Abuse White Paper could indicate that children are also victims. This would therefore, provide agencies with the ability to safeguard children using a trauma-informed, early intervention approach. The Government consultation on the Domestic Violence and Abuse bill ended in May 2018 and this is still yet to be published.

The Independent newspaper indicates that last year, more than half of the child protection assessments, equating to over 483,000 were carried out by local authorities in England. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/domestic-violence-abuse-children-victims-law-new-white-paper-bill-government-nspcc-a8719966.html

The head of policy at the NSPCC, Almudena Lara said: “As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services that understand the complex trauma children living with domestic abuse experience.

Luke and Ryan Hart told the Daily Mail:

“Someone like our father was a terrorist. He was planning to kill all of us three weeks before…”

“It's so complicated and horrible and the media treated it like a one-off, but for us it was a culmination of a lifetime of struggle.”

The NSPCC received 7,377 contacts to its Helpline in 2017-18 from members of the public who were concerned for children living in domestic abuse households across the UK.

Should the new Domestic Abuse bill identify children as victims of domestic abuse, the NSPCC states that the use of protective orders and professionals intervention at an earlier stage, would provide a competent response and trauma-informed treatment for these hidden victims.

If you have been affected by domestic abuse, Ramsdens can help you. Contact us confidentially via our family helpline on 00800 147720, send us an email family@ramsdens.co.uk or text LAW to 67777 to book a free consultation at any of our offices across Yorkshire.