It's not OK for children and young people to experience violence whether they are victims or witnesses.

Research shows that violence in the home affects children whether they see it, hear it or just know about it. Child abuse is most often linked to partner abuse, that is, if a parent is being abused then it's likely that children in the household are also being abused or affected by the violence.

In 2010, 70% of child abuse cases attended by Police were family violence related.

Family violence is not only physical, like slapping, shaking, or hitting. It is also:

  • throwing things
  • constant shouting and swearing
  • put-downs
  • involving children in sexual activities
  • any threatening and controlling behaviour
  • all the things that make children frightened or scared.

Violence makes it harder for children to make friends, to learn, be healthy and be happy.

The effects of violence can last a lifetime. The physical scars on the outside may heal – the emotional scars on the inside may not.

It's important to remember that children need adults to keep them safe, and we all have a role to play in this. If you are worried about a child  – don't ignore it.

Don't be afraid to offend an adult if it means helping a child. The sooner you reach out, the sooner people can get the help they need.

Helping Children

  • Help children know warning signs of danger that could put you and them at risk, and the action they should take.

  • Don't frighten children with information - keep the conversation about safety practical and practice emergency escape routes in the same way you might talk about fire safety or an earthquake drill.

  • Teach your children that the abuser's violence or anger is not their fault or their responsibility to stop.

  • Teach your children options of who to call or where they can go in an emergency, including how to call 111 and ask for the Police, and how to give their name and address.

  • If there are issues around custody or protection orders that the perpetrator needs to abide by, tell the places your child goes, e.g. schools, scouts, sports clubs. Give them a copy of your protection order, and a photo of the perpetrator so they know who to look out for. Talk through with them what they should do if the perpetrator comes looking for the child. (Adapted from 1800Respect)

If you are concerned about a child, there are organisations that can help or offer advice:

You can also look up local services in Family Services Directory or phone our information line 0800 456 450.

Statistic Tile for printing: STAT TILE UNWANTED TOUCHING2 [PDF 114 KB]