Needs of children affected by domestic abuse not enshrined in draft Bill

Monday 21 January 2018: Despite wider recognition in its consultation response that more must be done to support children affected by domestic abuse, the Government’s landmark draft Domestic Abuse Bill, published today, misses the opportunity to enshrine a long-term response in law.

Patrick Ryan, Hestia CEO said:

“We are all affected by domestic abuse, either personally or through our friends and family. It is also an intergenerational trauma.  At Hestia, we know that 55 per cent of children who witness abuse in the family home will go on to experience domestic abuse as an adult. If child victims of domestic abuse do not get the support they need, the impact will have long-term and devastating implications on their lives and our society. This monumental draft bill can succeed only  if we focus on prevention and support for children at a young age.

825K children live in a home where domestic abuse takes place, yet they are not entitled to specialist support. That’s why UK Says No More, run by Hestia has been calling for the Domestic Abuse Bill to include protected waiting list status for all children affected by domestic abuse to ensure they get the support they need.

Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of UK Says No More at Hestia said:

“The draft Bill is a step in the right direction to ensuring that all victims of domestic abuse are given support, but we know that more can be done. The 140 Parliamentarians, who campaigned for our Charter for Prevention for UK Says No More, understand how vital it is for children to gain priority access to mental health services. Unless this cycle is broken, we will continue to fail them.”



About Hestia

At Hestia, we support adults and children across London in times of crisis. Last year we worked with more than 9,000 people including women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, victims of modern slavery, young care leavers and older people. From giving someone a home to helping them to get the right mental health support, we support and enable people at the moment of crisis.

Hestia is the largest provider of domestic abuse refuges in London and last year we supported 3,657 people to recover from the trauma of domestic abuse including 668 children. We provide families refuge accommodation, dedicated children and family support, IDVA (Independent Domestic Abuse Advocates) and MARAC (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Centre) support and community group support.

Hestia is also the home of UK SAYS NO MORE, a national campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence across the UK.

About UK Says No More

UK SAYS NO MORE, a national campaign focused on raising awareness of and preventing domestic abuse and sexual violence. The campaign is facilitated by London charity Hestia and delivered in partnership with 330 organisations, charities, community groups and Parliamentarian Champions across the UK, who are all working together to bring an end to domestic abuse and sexual violence. UK SAYS NO MORE unites and strengthen a diverse community of members of the public and organisations nationwide to actively take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault under one powerful, visual symbol. The campaign provides open-source tools and resources for individuals and organisations to take action and get involved in ending domestic violence and sexual assault. Together we are challenging the myths and misconceptions around these issues, sharing resources and information, and ultimately working together to make real positive change.


Follow @UKSAYSNOMORE for updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Charter on Prevention

  1. Responsibility for education and awareness should be enshrined in the role of the new Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

Education and awareness around healthy relationships is critical to preventing domestic abuse. This must extend beyond PSHE in schools, into all walks of community life from universities to places of worship. If a new Domestic Abuse Commissioner is appointed, this must be a key part of their role.

  1. Greater support for children who have witnessed or experienced domestic abuse in order to break the cycle

The trauma of experiencing domestic abuse can have a long-term impact on children, which could continue the cycle of abuse into their adult life. Increasing opportunities for children and young people to access mental health support will have a significant impact.

  1. Making domestic abuse everyone’s business 

Businesses are key to preventing domestic abuse through the support and education they can provide to their employees. We ask that the employers’ ‘duty of care’ is expanded to include their responsibilities in response to domestic abuse.