Revealed: More than 530 Havering children live with domestic abuse
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As many as 530 children were living with domestic abuse in Havering last year.
Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) reveal that Havering ranks 28th in the capital for the highest number child protection assessments where domestic violence was a factor.
Children’s charity NSPCC has released the figures as part of a campaign calling on the government to legally recognise these children as victims of domestic abuse.
Almudena Lara, the charity’s head of policy, 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.”
“For this to be done effectively we need government to open their eyes to the harm domestic abuse has on children and give them victim status in the upcoming White Paper to ensure they receive the services they need.”
Up to 34,104 children living with domestic violence in London are not currently treated as victims.
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Hackney has the highest number with 1,888, with Newham a close second at 1,876.
The government is currently considering an as-yet-unpublished white paper on “Domestic Violence and Abuse”, which the charity hopes will include children within the legal definition of victims.
Legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse would give children greater explicit protection through domestic abuse protection orders, the charity argues.
It 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.
A Havering Council spokeswoman said: “Keeping children safe from any form of abuse is a priority for the borough and a number of initiatives have been set up to prevent and protect children who are at risk or have experienced domestic violence.
“We are constantly challenging attitudes and behaviour and are working closely with local support groups, such as the police, health and schools to identify and stop children from having to face such a difficult experience.”