How are children and young people affected?
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Children who are exposed to domestic abuse may develop serious emotional, behavioural, developmental and academic problems. As children, they may display acts of violence themselves or become withdrawn. They may also become depressed and have low self-esteem, resulting in varying degrees of loneliness, isolation and anxiety. All children are unique and will cope with their experiences in different ways.
Some of the most common observable effects are:
- Changed sleeping patterns
- Bed wetting
- Withdrawn or excessively clingy behaviour
- Eating disorders
- Stress-related illness
- Disruptive behaviour
- Lack of confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Suicidal feelings
Other signs may be an inability to concentrate on things they would normally enjoy or they could be reluctant to attend school or become truant, resulting in a decline in academic achievement.
Research shows that those children who are supported and given an opportunity to work through their experiences show the best recovery and go on to form good relationships in adult life.
Other useful contacts
Help for children and young people
Childline 0800 1111
Free 24 hour helpline for children and young people
NSPCC 0800 800 500
24 Hour Child Protection Helpline
NYAS - National Youth Advocacy Service 0800 616101
Provides children’s rights and socio-legal services and advocacy.
Offers information and support to children and young people living with domestic abuse.
What to do if you are concerned about a child
If you think that a child or young person under the age of 18 years old, who lives in Surrey, is being abused or neglected, you should report your concerns to Surrey County Council's (SCC) Children's Service by telephoning the SCC Contact Centre on 0300 200 1006 or, in an emergency, you should report the matter to Surrey Police.
Outside of office hours and at weekends and public holidays, the Emergency Duty Team should be contacted by telephoning 01483 517898. However, if you are seriously concerned about a child's immediate safety, always dial 999.
If you are a member of the public, you will be asked for your name and address and details of the child and the concerns you have. These are to help SCC Children’s Service to make further enquiries and to contact you again if necessary. Information about your name and address will be treated as confidential. You will be informed if it is necessary to identify you if court proceedings are required to protect the child or to prosecute an abuser. There are a number of court orders which can be used to protect a child.