Protecting children from domestic abuse during coronavirus

Last updated: 10 Jun 2020 Topics: News Type: News
Introduction

For some children, home may not always be a safe place and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have made the situation worse.

During the pandemic, adults who work or volunteer with children and families aren’t able to maintain the same level of contact as normal. This makes it harder to understand what’s going on in a child’s life and spot when something isn’t right. It also makes it more difficult for children and young people to raise concerns about anything that’s going on at home.

As the Domestic Abuse Bill is at committee stage in the House of Commons, we're publishing information to demonstrate the importance of recognising the impact of domestic abuse on children and young people.

New insight from Childline and our helpline

Childline counselling sessions and NSPCC helpline contacts about domestic abuse have increased since the government’s stay at home guidance was issued.

We know that domestic abuse affects children in many ways, including their mental and physical wellbeing and behaviour. It has an impact on their family relationships and can also affect future relationships.

We’re sharing some of the things children have told Childline and adults have told our helpline about domestic abuse during lockdown, to improve understanding of how it is affecting children during the pandemic.

Read the full insight briefing

More learning from case reviews

We've updated our learning from case reviewing briefing pulling out practice areas to help improve responses to protecting children from the impact of domestic abuse.

The briefing highlights that practitioners need to consider the impact of domestic abuse on children and focus on the child's lived experience.

Read the learning from case review briefing

Supporting children and young people

We've also updated our learning from case reviewing briefing pulling out practice areas to help improve responses to protecting children from the impact of domestic abuse.

And we’ve pulled together some resources to help anyone who works or volunteers with children to recognise and respond to domestic abuse.

Click through to the next tab to find out more.

NSPCC Helpline

If you’re worried about children in a family where there might be domestic abuse, contact our helpline. It’s free and you can remain anonymous.

Call 0808 800 5000, email help@nspcc.org.uk or visit nspcc.org.uk/helpline.

Useful resources

Useful resources for responding to domestic abuse

Everyone who works or volunteers with children and young people, whether face-to-face or remotely, needs to understand how to spot the signs of domestic abuse and take appropriate action.

Our page on recognising and responding to abuse outlines best practice for working with children who have been abused, how you can spot signs of abuse and getting children the right support.

> Find out more about recognising and responding to abuse

Our information about protecting children from domestic abuse includes more detail on:

  • the impact of domestic abuse on children
  • how to recognise and respond to domestic abuse
  • direct work with children who have experienced domestic abuse
  • preventative measures.

> Read more about protecting children from domestic abuse

Reading list

The NSPCC Library and Information Service has created a reading list of books on domestic abuse to help your professional practice when responding to domestic abuse.

> View the reading list

Government guidance

Across the UK there is guidance on supporting victims of domestic abuse during coronavirus (COVID-19). The current rules on staying at home and household isolation do not apply to people who need to escape domestic abuse (Home Office, 20201; Department of Health, 20202; Scottish Government, 20203; Public Health Wales, 20204).

In England, the Home Office has published guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) support for victims of domestic abuse guidance.

In Northern Ireland, the Department of Health has published guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) – support for victims of domestic abuse.

In Scotland, the Scottish Government has published guidance on domestic abuse during coronavirus (COVID-19) and coronavirus (COVID-19) Supplementary National Violence Against Women Guidance.

In Wales, the Welsh Government has published coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for services for perpetrators of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence and guidance for providers of accommodation for survivors of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Resources to share with parents

We’ve put together information and advice for parents and carers on domestic abuse during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the NSPCC website. Information includes signs and effects of domestic abuse, what to do if a child reveals abuse and how to get support.

> Read our advice on domestic abuse during coronavirus on the NSPCC website

The NSPCC has information for adults and parents on spotting the signs of child abuse, including common signs and information on how you can share any concerns you may have.

> Find out about spotting the signs of child abuse on the NSPCC website

Resources for children and young people

Our Childline website has a range of resources for children and young people. Childline also provides free confidential support through online chat, phone or email.

Domestic abuse

The Childline website provides age-appropriate information on:

  • what domestic abuse is
  • coping if you feel unsafe at home
  • how it can affect families
  • making a safety plan
  • and getting support.

> Look at Childline’s information about domestic abuse

Online tools

Childline also provides helpful tools that children and young people may find helpful:

References

Home Office (2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse. [Accessed 11/06/2020].
Department of Health (2020) Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse. [Accessed 11/06/2020].
Scottish Government (2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on domestic abuse. [Accessed 11/06/2020].
Public Health Wales (2020) Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence – you are not alone. [Accessed 11/06/2020].