Calls about children affected by domestic abuse soar during lockdown to highest on record

More than eight referrals made every week from the NSPCC Helpline to authorities in Wales

Domestic abuse is having a devastating impact on children across Wales during lockdown.

There's been a 30 percent rise in calls to the NSPCC's helpline - that's an average of one an hour. 

And the charity is making more than eight referrals every week to authorities.

Vivienne Laing, Policy and Public Affairs Manager for NSPCC Cymru, said:

“This crisis has shone a spotlight on children who are living with the daily nightmare of domestic abuse.

“We know that before the pandemic around one in five children have experienced domestic abuse and it can have a devastating and long-term impact on children’s physical and emotional wellbeing. The increase in calls to our helplines have shown that the pandemic may have intensified the damaging experiences of domestic abuse on children.’

“It is essential that every area of Wales establishes specialist services to provide  support for children and young people to enable them to recover from their experiences and that there are sufficient dedicated children workers in both refuge and community services to provide play and therapeutic work while the family is in crisis.’

The charity argues the increased risks during the crisis further highlight the need to ensure that specialist support services are in place in every part of Wales to support children and young people experiencing domestic abuse.  

Violence and coercive control can have devastating impacts on children and they need specialist support to recover.

Currently, the UK Domestic Abuse Bill is at Committee stage in Westminster, which will be a crucial moment for ministers to listen to experts and recognise children’s experiences of abuse. 

In some cases, fears about the virus were exploited to withhold access to children, cut off contact to family and friends, and monitor victims’ movements under the pretext of keeping them safe from the virus. Victims said this made it difficult to leave and speak out.

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