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Introduction

This toolkit has been produced to assist professionals to support the children and young people they work with who may be affected by domestic abuse; helping them to have healthy relationships and to prevent them from living in silence if they are experiencing abuse in their lives.

Definition of domestic abuse

The South Gloucestershire Partnership Against Domestic Abuse considers that:

“Domestic violence/abuse is the use, attempt, or threat of violence-whether physical, emotional, sexual, mental or economic, within an intimate or family relationship. Domestic violence/abuse forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.”

Domestic violence/abuse occurs across society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, wealth and geography. Research shows however, that the
majority of this behaviour consists mainly of violence by men against women and it is not necessary for partners to have cohabited.

Why is awareness of domestic abuse so important?

Organisations that work with children and young people are in a privileged position to identify those who may be experiencing domestic violence/abuse, both at home and within their own relationships. They are key to raising the issue of domestic abuse in a safe and structured environment. In particular they should:

  • Be able to identify the signs of abuse
  • Support children and young people to seek help and safety
  • Model and promote healthy, non-violent relationships
  • Challenge the myths that perpetuate domestic abuse including the variety of behaviours involved
  • Safeguard children and young people from the harm caused by domestic violence/abuse (Children Act 2004).