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Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
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4:00 PM 12th March 2020

Keebles LLP Advises On Legal Safeguarding For Children Involved In Domestic Violence

In response to the recent NSPCC reports that children witnessing serious forms of domestic abuse has risen by 25 per cent within the last year, leading Yorkshire law firm Keebles LLP shares some advice on the legal protection available for these children.

According to a recent BBC report, the NSPCC have advised that children witnessing serious forms of domestic abuse has risen by 25 per cent within the last year.

It is often the case that children who witness serious domestic abuse are themselves normally at a greater risk of harm. The NSPCC refer more than half the calls regarding children witnessing serious domestic abuse to the relevant local authority, who will then decide whether to bring the necessary care proceedings.

Rebecca Crofts
Rebecca Crofts
Rebecca Crofts, Senior Associate in the Childcare team at Keebles, said:
“The children can experience short and long term cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects as a result of witnessing domestic abuse. Each child will respond differently, but there is no doubt that it will significantly impact their lives both now and in the future without the right support and guidance.”

At present there is a new Domestic Abuse Bill going through Parliament, which is hoped will have more protections for children, as the current legislation fails to recognise children who witness serious domestic abuse as victims in their own right.

Rebecca added:
“It is clear that those children who do witness serious domestic violence will need significant support to help them overcome the trauma, however, children’s services who provide this support are not under a legal obligation to do so. It is hoped that the new Domestic Abuse Bill will change this.

“Our role as legal professionals in these types of proceedings is, first and foremost, to make sure that these children are safe. The orders that the Court sometimes have to make to ensure this are often draconian and devastating for families but nonetheless necessary if children are being harmed, emotionally, mentally or physically, as a result of domestic violence.

“The second, is to make sure that parents, family members and health and educational professionals are all aware as to the impact domestic abuse has on children, both in their childhood throughout their adult lives.

“The Courts are overwhelmed with care cases regarding children at risk of harm from domestic abuse. It is a recognised factor that witnessing domestic abuse can have serious ramifications for a child later in life and it is always something, we as solicitors will request experts to comment on within their reports and try to ensure that any recommended treatment or assistance is provided to the child.

“Therefore, I can say that when the NSPCC speak of these children being ‘victims too’, they are absolutely right. I hope that our Government gives this the serious consideration that it needs and allows the public purse to make sure that there is the help and support available that is needed for these victims, for these children.”

For more information on the firm’s family legal services visit www.keebles.com