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A report, written by inspectors from Ofsted, the Care Quality Commission and other agencies has found that child victims of domestic abuse are being ignored because some police officers view it as a “lifestyle choice.” The authors of the report found that victims have been “incorrectly held responsible for the risk of domestic abuse.” You can read the report here.

The report examined work in six local authorities across England; Bradford, Hounslow, Lincolnshire, Salford, Hampshire and Wiltshire. The report found that language used to describe victims of domestic abuse placed the blame on them such as them needing to “make better relationship choices.” The report found that in some case records, children who were exploited as making “lifestyle choices” i.e. choosing to place themselves in such a vulnerable position.

The report stated that the pattern of domestic abuse often started gradually. For example, perpetrators carrying out coercive or controlling acts. The inspectors concluded that “prevention is cheaper than the cure” and felt that early intervention should be focused around trying to change the behaviour of the perpetrator.

The report’s message was a clear one, public authorities must give priority to tackling domestic abuse. Eleanor Schooling, Ofsted National Director for Social Care said that she “wants to see a new approach to tackling domestic abuse – one which focuses more on prevention and repairing long-term damage to child victims…agencies can address these complex challenges but due to the endemic nature of domestic abuse they cannot do it alone.”

At Ramsdens, we sadly see the impact of domestic abuse on victims and their families on a daily basis. The impact of domestic abuse, finally, seems to be being given some attention by the government. We hope that the UK government takes notice of this report and puts its recommendations into action as a matter of urgency.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse and need some advice contact our Family Helpline on 08000 147720, email or text LAW to 67777 to book a free thirty minute consultation at any of our offices across West Yorkshire to discuss matters in a confidential manner or to obtain further information. We also offer early morning and late evening appointments across our offices.

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