The Department of Health estimates that every year, 750,000 children experience domestic abuse. However, as many cases of domestic abuse go unreported, the actual figures are likely to be higher than this. In addition to this, it is estimated that women will experience on average 35 incidents of domestic abuse before contacting the police. As a result of this, it is very likely that in homes where children are present, their experiences of domestic abuse also go unreported, thus leaving these children living with the impacts of abuse.
Section 120 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 extended the definition of what constitutes ‘significant harm’ to children to include:
‘Any impairment of the child’s health or development as a result of witnessing the ill treatment of another person such as domestic violence.’
The Act makes clear that ill treatment is broader than physical violence and includes forms of ill treatment that ar