Domestic Abuse

Prolonged and/or regular exposure to domestic abuse can have a serious impact on a child’s development and emotional well being as well as his or her physical safety. As such it is one of the potential causes of significant harm to children which may warrant the use of the child protection procedures. 

 

 

Domestic violence and abuse is defined in law as: 

any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

The new definition of domestic abuse has been extended to include coercive control as well as young people under the age of 18. This includes domestic abuse between young people in, or who were previously in, a relationship or against their family members including against their parents or carers.

The previous definition defined domestic violence as a single act or incident. The new definition recognises that patterns of behaviour and separate instances of control can add up to abuse - including instances of intimidation, isolation, depriving victims of their financial independence or material possessions and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Controlling behaviour

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive control

The previous definition defined domestic violence as a single act or incident. The new definition recognises that patterns of behaviour and separate instances of control can add up to abuse - including instances of intimidation, isolation, depriving victims of their financial independence or material possessions and regulating their everyday behaviour. The changes to the definition of domestic abuse raise awareness that young people in the 16 to 17 age group can also be victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Definition of domestic violence and abuse: guide for local areas

To help local areas consider the consider how the extension to the definition of domestic violence and abuse may impact on their services, the Home Office, in partnership with Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) has produced a guide for local areas.

Procedure

Any practitioner who receives information or has concerns about domestic abuse must establish if there are any children living in the household, consult with their agency's safeguarding lead and consider whether advice is needed from the Children's Front Door in regard to concern about a child. Telephone number for the Children's Front Door is 01904 551900.

Where a practitioner believes that an enquiry to Children’s Social Care is indicated, this should be discussed with the victim and every effort made to seek agreement.  It is not necessary to have the consent of a parent in order to make an enquiry to Children’s Social Care if the practitioner has reasonable cause to believe that the child is at risk of significant harm.

The Police can often be the first point of contact with families where domestic abuse takes place.  The officer attending a reported incident of domestic abuse will identify whether a child was present when the incident occurred, or whether a child is ordinarily resident at the address where it occurred. They should see any child present in the house to assess their immediate safety.

 

Operation Encompass is a unique Police and Education early intervention safeguarding partnership which supports children and young people exposed to domestic abuse.

 

It involves the Police reporting to schools before the start of the next school day when a child or young person has been involved or exposed to a domestic abuse incident the previous evening. The information is given in strict confidence to a school’s Key Adult to enable support to be given dependent on the needs and wishes of the child. 

Domestic abuse is likely to have a damaging effect on the health and development of children, and it will often be appropriate for these children to be regarded as children in need. Normally one serious or several lesser incidents of domestic violence where there is a child in the household would indicate that Children’s Social Care may need to be informed to consider carrying out a single assessment of the child and the family.

Any response by any agency to an incidence of domestic abuse should be discreet in terms of making contact with victims. Standard letters should not be sent as this could further endanger the victim or their children.

Refuge addresses should not be disclosed by any agency and the P.O Box number should be used in all correspondence.  Refuge telephone numbers can be given to victims of domestic abuse.

Professional Judgement

Children may suffer from witnessing or hearing the ill treatment of another in circumstances of domestic abuse. There is a need to balance the information and use your professional judgement as to whether the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.  If you are unsure as to whether an enquiry should be made to Children’s Social Care you must consult with your agency lead for child protection and/or contact the Children's Front Door in regard to concern about a child. Telephone number for the Children's Front Door is 01904 551900.

 

Training

CYSCB provides online and face to face training for practitioners.

 

Useful Links

   

IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) provide comprehensive support services and refuge accommodation across Yorkshire.

 
Helpline number: 03000 110 110 (7 days a week). 
Website: www.idas.org.uk.
Live-chat: available Mon – Fri 5pm – 7pm.

National 24 hour domestic abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247.  IDAS provide a free online training course  

 

There is a Domestic Abuse Storyboard produced by YorOK, CYSCB and City of York Council

Local domestic abuse advice for parents and carers

The North Yorkshire and City Of York Domestic Abuse overview strategy 2014 - 2018

Government guidance on Domestic Abuse

NSPCC Domestic Abuse resources

Safe Lives : Ending Domestic Abuse

North Yorkshire Police Domestic Abuse information

Kyra Women's Project in York