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The NSPCC says more than 3,100 children are living with domestic abuse in Hertfordshire - and the law should be changed to recognise them as victims.

The charity is calling on the government to publish its 'domestic violence and abuse white paper' to acknowledge the effect that growing up in an abusive household can have.

Department for Education figures show domestic violence was a factor in 246,720 child protection assessments across England in 2017/18, leaving potentially a quarter of a million child victims unrecognised by the justice system.

The NSPCC saus legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse would give children greater explicit protection through domestic abuse protection orders, would help professionals to take action to protect children at risk, and would help authorities ensure there are specific services to help young people overcome the trauma of exposure to domestic abuse.

The call is backed by brothers Luke and Ryan Hart whose father murdered their mother and sister in 2016 after two decades of domestic abuse.

Ryan said: "We didn't recognise it as abuse because there was never any violence but it was coercive control, financial, emotional, psychological abuse.

"What is often missed is the effects of living in that environment has on kids, growing up not only witnessing abuse but experiencing it day in and day out, how that affects us growing up and into adult life.

"Children living with domestic abuse are not just witnesses to the abuse, they are victims themselves. Luke and I know first-hand the psychological effects, emotional effects can have on you by seeing someone you love being a victim of abuse."

Almudena Lara, Head of Policy at the NSPCC, said: "It is quite astonishing that the government is dragging its feet when deciding whether to recognise young people as victims when almost a quarter of a million children that we know of are living with domestic abuse in England alone.

"As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services that understand the complex trauma children living with domestic abuse experience.

"For this to be done effectively we need government to open their eyes to the harm domestic abuse has on children and give them victim status in the upcoming White Paper to ensure they receive the services they need."

East of England LA Domestic Abuse Stats 2018

Stats from Local Authorities in the NSPCC East of England patch: The number of Child Protection Assessments where domestic abuse is a factor in 2017-18

 

 

County

 

 

Council

Child Protection Assessments + Domestic Abuse Factor (2017-18)

 

 

Total in County

 

 

 

Berkshire

Bracknell Forest

574

 

 

4,000

Reading

1,755

Slough

688

West Berkshire

212

Windsor and Maidenhead

250

Wokingham

521

Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire County Council

3,907

4,781

Milton Keynes

874

 

Bedfordshire

Bedford Borough Council

709

 

2,462

Central Bedfordshire Council

962

Luton Unitary Authority

791

Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire County Council

3,113

3,113

Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire County Council

2,803

4,136

Peterborough City Council

1,333

 

Essex

Essex County Council

4,580

 

6,091

Thurrock Council

876

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

635

Suffolk

Suffolk County Council

2,704

2,704

Norfolk

Norfolk County Council

4,596

4,596

Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire County Council

2,971

2,971

Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire County Council

2,510

2,510

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