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NSPCC wants legal protection for then than 3,000 Herts children affected by domestic violence

Domestic violence
Domestic violence

The NSPCC is demanding that the 3,113 children living with domestic violence in Hertfordshire should be treated as victims.

The charity is highlighting their plight because the Government's proposed new definition of domestic abuse ignores the effect growing up in abusive households has on youngsters, despite it being a factor in more than half of child protection assessments across England last year.

The NSPCC is urging the Government to publish its Domestic Violence and Abuse White Paper without delay and recognise children as victims in its domestic abuse laws. A consultation closed last May but the government has yet to publish the outcome.

The NSPCC received 7,377 calls to its helpline from members of the public concerned about children in domestic abuse situations in 2017/18.

Department for Education figures show domestic violence was a factor in 246,720 child protection assessments across England in 2017/18, leaving potentially a quarter of a million victims unrecognised by the justice system. In Hertfordshire, it was a factor in 3,113 assessments.

Legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse would give children greater explicit protection through domestic abuse protection orders, would help professionals to take action to protect children at risk, and would help authorities ensure there are specific services to help young people overcome the trauma of exposure to domestic abuse.

Almudena Lara, head of policy at the NSPCC, said: "It is quite astonishing that the government is dragging its feet when deciding whether to recognise young people as victims when almost a quarter of a million children that we know of are living with domestic abuse in England alone.

"As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services that understand the complex trauma children living with domestic abuse experience."

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