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Children and young people witnessing abuse

Mums or dads who are experiencing domestic abuse don't always realise how it affects their child. They might think that because their child is in another room or doesn't see what's happening that they're not affected. But we know that living in a home where domestic abuse takes place can be really harmful for a child.

It can have a very serious impact on a child's behaviour and wellbeing, even if they're not directly harmed themselves. Children exposed to domestic abuse are considered to be victims and are recognised as being at 'significant harm' in law.

Domestic abuse can also be a sign that children are suffering another type of abuse or neglect.

The effects can last into adulthood. But, once they're in a safer and more stable environment, most children are able to recover from the effects of witnessing domestic abuse.

What you can do

It is very important that children living with domestic violence are kept safe. These are the safety messages parents should give their children:

  • When you are scared or sad, you don't need to keep secrets - tell someone you trust
  • You are not to blame for what happens
  • Everyone feels angry and frustrated sometimes, but violence is never okay
  • It is okay to feel upset with Mum or Dad, but still love them
  • It is okay to feel mixed up
  • Stay out of fights
  • Go to a safe place in the house
  • Go to the neighbours or a safe place outside
  • Ring the police if you are worried
  • Help brothers and sisters to be safe

Support services for children and young people

NIDAS - Norfolk Integrated Domestic Abuse Services (medium and high-risk support)

  • Telephone: 0300 561 0555 (9am and 6:30pm on weekdays, between 9am and 3pm on weekends)
  • Text: 07860 063 464
  • Out of hours: 0808 2000 247
  • Covering all of Norfolk
  • Support for children and young people will be available if their parent/carer has been supported by an IDVA

Go to the NIDAS website (opens new window)


  • Telephone: 0300 561 0077
  • Offers support to children and young people from age 5 - 18 in the areas of Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Breckland. One to one work is offered around safety planning and wishes and feelings. Referrals are from agency only and currently working under a Family Support Plan (FSP). The helpline can be contacted for families who are not under a FSP.

Go to the Leeway website (opens new window)

Pandora Project's Children and Young People's (CYP) Service

  • Offers support to those aged 5-18 affected by domestic abuse (current or historic) living in West Norfolk and North Norfolk
  • One-to-one sessions with children and young people in schools and colleges, providing emotional and practical support for up to a year

Go to the Pandora Project website (opens new window)

Daisy Programme

  • Telephone: 01953 880903
  • For children and young people living in Breckland
  • Direct support for children and young people in key stages 2,3 and 4 who have been affected by domestic abuse
  • Referrals are direct from schools

Go to the Daisy Programme website (opens new window)

The Hideout 

  • Women's Aid have created this space to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it's happening to you

Go to The Hideout website (opens new window)

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