Children young people and domestic abuse


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Children who live with domestic abuse typically know it is happening. Even if a child or young person doesn’t see the shouting or the hitting, they’ve probably heard it or maybe they’ve seen their parent bruised or upset after an argument.

Children and young people can ‘witness’ domestic abuse in many different ways. For example, they may:

  • get caught in the middle of an incident in an effort to make the violence stop
  • be in the room next door and hear the abuse or see physical injuries following an incident of violence
  • be forced to stay in one room or may not be allowed to play
  • be forced to witness sexual abuse or they may be forced to take part in verbally abusing their parent

If you’re worried about domestic abuse in your family visit

Children who would like to talk about what is going on at home can call Childline on 0800 1111.

If you're worried a child is affected by domestic abuse ring our children’s social care team on 0121 788 4333 during normal working hours and 0121 605 6060 out of hours.

Domestic abuse and young people

Abuse in relationships can happen to anyone. It’s not normal, OK or part of a healthy relationship. Abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual and leave you feeling lonely and isolated.

Some people in an abusive relationship don’t even realise it. Abuse could be when someone tries to control, hurt or force you to do things you don't want to. They can do this in lots of different ways.

Am I being abused?

  • does your partner stop you seeing friends and family or demand all of your time
  • do they check or stop you using your phone, email, Facebook and Twitter accounts
  • are they always contacting you to check where you are and who you’re with
  • do they tell you what to wear or how to do your hair
  • are they verbally (calling you names) or physically (hitting, shoving or slapping) aggressive
  • do they threaten to harm you - or themselves
  • are you pressured to have sex, or other sexual acts, when you don’t want to, telling you that “everyone is doing it” or that you would do it “if you really loved them”

If you’re frightened of your partner or feel you have to change your behaviour because you’re scared of their reaction, you are being abused. Remember you’re not to blame and help is available.

What can I do?

  • if you’re in danger call 999 - the police can help keep you safe
  • the abuse is not your fault - you may be blamed and told you “made them hit you” but only your abuser are responsible for their actions
  • you don’t have to deal with this on your own. Try and talk to someone you trust - perhaps a friend, teacher or parent
  • you can call the 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 2000 – all calls are free and confidential

Worried about a friend?

If you are worried that a friend or loved one is being abused, there are things you can do to help:

  • your friend might be feeling very lonely or be too embarrassed or scared to talk - let them know you are worried about them and are always there if they want to talk
  • give them time - it might take a while before they open up to you
  • don’t judge or tell them what to do – they may still love their abuser or want to give them a chance. While you want your friend to be safe they have to make their own decisions
  • tell them the abuse is not their fault