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According to research carried out by Women’s Aid, one in seven (14.2%) of children and young people under the age of 18 will have experienced domestic violence at some point in their childhood. Domestic abuse has an impact on children, young people of all ages, and even on unborn children. Children are not passive witnesses to domestic violence, and this has been acknowledged by the Domestic Abuse Act.

The impact domestic abuse has on children varies depending on numerous factors, some of which include age, race, sex, and the stage of the child’s development. Whilst children of all ages are impacted, it is evident that children of a pre-school age are most obviously affected. Common issues at this age can include bed wetting, sleeping difficulties and eating problems. Of course, each child will respond differently to this kind of trauma.

There are many positive ways to help children in these kind of domestic abuse situations. If you are the parent of a child in an abusive relationship, leaving an abuser will make your children feel safer. The sooner children receive help, the greater their chances of full recovery. If you do choose to leave an abusive relationship, the Family Courts will prioritise your children’s wellbeing and safety in any proceedings.

However, we understand that leaving an abusive relationship is not straight forward and whatever action you take, the most important thing is to ensure your children and the person subjected to the abuse are safe and that they do not feel that any of this is their fault. Women’s Aid have a dedicated resource page to help children understand domestic abuse, which can be found here.

The ‘cycle of violence’ is often referred to when discussing the impact of domestic abuse on children, which is the idea that those who experience violence as children will go on to become victims or perpetrators of abuse as adults. However, research is inconsistent, and whilst the impact of domestic abuse can last into adulthood, there is no reason as to why children shouldn’t grow into happy and healthy adults who do not repeat these same behaviours.

Here at Ramsdens our domestic abuse solicitors can provide legal advice on how best to protect you and your family. We can help you obtain a Non-Molestation Order or Occupation Order for your protection; these are forms of injunctions. Such orders do not automatically mean that your former partner cannot see any children you have together, this will depend on the provisions of the order. You may feel that you want your children to see their other parent if it is safe for them to do so or you may believe that supervision is necessary for any contact that does take place, or you may feel it is in our children’s best interests to prevent contact entirely. Whatever your circumstances our family solicitors have extensive expertise in cases involving children and will be able to offer guidance.

If you are in immediate danger, call the Police on 999.

If you believe you or someone you know are suffering from domestic abuse, we are here to help. Please get in touch with our Family team in confidence by calling 08000 147720 or email family@ramsdens.co.uk. We can provide assistance and obtain urgent injunctive orders for your safety and protection remotely via telephone or email and work closely with many local organisations offering help and support to victims.