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Thousands of children exposed to domestic abuse

THOUSANDS of children are likely to be exposed to domestic abuse this Christmas, the Early Intervention Foundation charity warns in a report published today.

The charity, which supports effective early intervention to improve the lives of children, says at least 16,000 children are living with an abusive parent or carer, but warns this figure is likely to be “just the tip of the iceberg.”

It calculated that as many as 35,000 children experience domestic abuse in a given month, and predicted that 400,000 will be victims in 2022.

The group warns that the cost of living crisis could compound the problem this festive period with families struggling to put Christmas dinner on the table, leaving children exposed to more intense and damaging parental conflict.

The findings come as the government’s domestic abuse strategy — to tackle violence against women and girls — was delayed last month until next year.

Foundation chief executive Dr Jo Casebourne said: “Given the numbers of children affected by domestic abuse, it is vital that we fully understand how best to help them.

“The domestic abuse strategy must focus on improving services for child victims of domestic abuse. 

“There are longstanding gaps in provision for families, including in relation to the availability of prevention services and long-term therapeutic support, support for babies and very young children and culturally specific interventions for minority groups.”

She called on Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean to ensure that the government’s domestic abuse strategy includes a commitment to fund and evaluate the most promising support.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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