Domestic violence and abuse
Is your child experiencing domestic violence and/or abuse?
Are there problems at home between you and your partner? Maybe these problems are starting to have an effect on your child? Or perhaps your child is suffering at the hands of their girlfriend or boyfriend?
Either way, your child will be profoundly affected by what is going on. You should take action to protect them. No child, young or old, should have to suffer at the hands of an adult.
Do you suspect something is wrong?
If you don't know for certain if your child is being abused, but you think they may be, trust your instincts. For example, you may have noticed:
- they are uncommunicative
- they are depressed
- they are getting into trouble at school
- they are emotional or angry for no reason
They may feel as though the abuse:
- is their fault
- is something that they have to solve or prevent
- will never stop
All of these things are wrong and, as a parent, you must take steps to convince your child that the abuse can be stopped.
Try to talk to them
It may be hard, but it really could make a big difference:
- Talk to them about what is going on.
- Make them feel safe.
- Let them know that you are there for them.
- Give them plenty of reassurance.
Children who experience abuse can have problems later in life. They might:
- find it difficult forming intimate relationships
- find it difficult to work out right from wrong
- develop illness relating to stress
Beyond comforting your child, it is most important that the abuse stops. It might feel daunting but there is a lot of help and support available to you.
Is your child being forced to marry?
It could be that your child is being forced to marry against their will. This is a form of domestic abuse and you must take action to prevent it.
You may be frightened of the consequences, but your courage will stop your child from being physically and/or sexually abused.
You can call our Forced Marriage Unit in confidence on 020 7008 0151 or visit the forced marriage section on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.