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

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.
Download The impact of domestic abuse on children and young people: insight from the voices of parents and carers
Download the briefing (PDF)

Childline and NSPCC Helpline insight briefings

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

View insight briefings

I’m scared of my husband. He has been verbally, emotionally and physically abusive 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 has been supported by the Covid-19 Support Fund.


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