Children Abused At Home ‘Still Miss Their Cruel Dads’

Child victims of domestic violence still miss their abusive fathers and want to see them, a new report has found.

The study also found that violent fathers are using mobile phones to text their children and explain in detail to them what violence they are about to inflict on their mothers.

The government report on the plight of child victims of domestic violence noted that the use of mobiles was one of many “tactics” to send threatening and abusive messages, often resulting in children returning home — at great risk to themselves — to try to avert violence perpetrated on their mothers.

The report, the first of its kind to study domestic violence from the perspectives of children, reveals the catalogue of disadvantage experienced by young victims of domestic violence, including unplanned pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse and dropping out of school.

It also identified several cases where children are known to live in extremely violent households, with little evidence of protecting them from further domestic violence and “unacceptable” waiting lists for therapeutic services such as child psychology and counselling.

The study interviewed 22 children aged between five and 21, who told their stories of the impact of living with domestic violence and also their experience of the types of services they received in response.

Some children described how they, too, had been assaulted as part of the violence — either as a tactic used by the man to further control their mother, or when they actively tried to intervene to protect her.

The report, compiled on behalf of the Office for Minister for Children, has called on the Government to recognise the huge adversities experienced by child victims of domestic violence and has called for an increase in community-based, child-centred supports to respond to their needs.

The report also criticises the general rule that teenage boys may not stay with their mothers and siblings in a refuge. It says that there is an immediate need to open refuges to teenage boys who are at risk of violence or consequent homelessness.