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The impact of domestic abuse on children and young people: insight from the voices of parents and carers

Helplines insight briefing

Publication date December 2021

In 2020/21, contacts to the NSPCC Helpline from parents and carers concerned about children and young people experiencing domestic abuse increased by a third compared to the previous year.

We have produced this briefing to share what parents and carers have told us about the impact of domestic abuse on their children. 

The briefing shares the impact of domestic abuse on:

  • children's safety
  • children's behaviour
  • children's mental health

It also highlights some of the barriers and challenges experienced by parents and carers who report domestic abuse to our helpline. These include:

  • being afraid of repercussions from the perpetrator of the abuse
  • being worried about losing contact with their children
  • domestic abuse continuing after a couple have separated.
The impact of domestic abuse on children and young people: insight from the voices of parents and carers
Download the briefing (PDF)
"I'm scared of my husband. He has been verbally, emotionally and physically abuse for more than ten years. He is unpredictable and volatile and yesterday he totally flipped, smashing the house up and throwing things. My daughter, who is four, was present and was very upset, asking if it was her fault that daddy was so angry. I am scared for me and my daughter and just wish I had got out of this situation years ago. I am so worried about contacting the police and making the situation even worse."

Mother, NSPCC Helpline
"My son, who is six, lives with his mother during the week and stays with me at weekends. He recently told me that he has seen domestic abuse at his mother's. I have noticed my son has become more aggressive and boisterous when playing, and has become less confident socially, often staying quiet with his head down."

Father, NSPCC Helpline

This work was supported by the Covid-19 Support Fund.


NSPCC (2021) The impact of domestic abuse and young people: voices of parents and carers insight briefing. London: NSPCC

Childline and NSPCC Helpline insight briefings

Our insight briefings and insight from Childline sessions and NSPCC Helpline contacts to explore concerns children and young people have raised and how these affect them.


See the full series