Over 1800 children in England wake up in a refuge
Tuesday 8th March 2016
To mark International Women’s Day, Women’s Aid has released key statistics from its annual survey of domestic abuse services, which will be launched later this month. These show that on an average day, there were 1835 children and young people living in a domestic abuse refuge; a further 1984 children receive direct support from community-based domestic abuse services in an average week. The same services provide indirect support for a further 7762 children or young people. Worryingly, 49% of responding services said their most challenging issues were funding cuts and uncertainty about the future.
Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“Children are often the overlooked victims of domestic abuse. But, as our statistics show, children are just as likely to be living in refuges and accessing support as their mothers; on one average day in a refuge, there are 1864 women and 1835 children.
“We launched our Child First campaign to ensure that children’s safety is put at the heart of all decisions made in the family courts. Unsafe decisions about perpetrator access to children are routinely being made. This is often because of a failure to recognise that a perpetrator’s history of abuse towards a mother impacts on children too, and should indicate that he is not a safe parent. It is also because many professionals working in the family courts, including judges, do not understand domestic abuse. This can have fatal consequences, as shown by our report ’19 Child Homicides’. 19 children have been killed in 10 years as a result of unsafe contact with a perpetrator of domestic abuse. We urge anyone who has not yet signed our Child First petition to do so. This campaign will help to save lives by ensuring that unsafe contact with perpetrators of domestic abuse comes to an end, and it will make the family courts a safer place for all survivors that use them.
“This International Women’s Day, we are also asking people to join our movement and become a Women’s Aid Key Supporter, to help us with our campaigning work for abused women and children. Our campaign successes in the past year include £3 million in emergency funding for refuges, and coercive control becoming illegal. Please sign up and join us. Together, we can make the world safer for victims and survivors of domestic abuse.”
To campaign on these vital issues, Women’s Aid is building a network of Key Supporters. Key Supporters will help Women’s Aid to campaign, fundraise and create a movement for change. Go to www.womensaid.org.uk/get-involved/become-a-member/key-supporter for more information.