Critically discuss and reflect on the principles of professional practice which demonstrate effective safeguarding to support the needs of vulnerable children living with Domestic Violence
Children who live with domestic violence are often referred to as the invisible victims (Osofsky,, J.D 1995); with most victims being unaware of the significant impact abuse has on children. The physical and emotional implications caused by domestic abuse may be long lasting and detrimental and can begin even before a baby is born, with one in three victims stating that domestic abuse started when they became pregnant. However, with early intervention and effective safeguarding and support, the child ...view middle of the document...
Ten women are assaulted every minute in the UK, but only 1 of those results in a call to the police (Safelives). Police have an obligation (Children’s Act 1989 Section 47) to notify social services if children are present once they arrive to a callout. Police officers should always aim to speak to the child when attending a call-out to ensure they are safe, assess the effect the incident has had on them and to make the necessary referrals for on-going support.
In 2002, the Department of Health identified that nearly 75% of children subject to a Child Protection Plan were living in homes where domestic abuse had taken place. The Children’s Act 1989 has now been amended and includes ‘impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another’, meaning it is now possible for a child to come under the scrutiny of Social Services if it is clear that they are at risk of Domestic Violence, as it is seen as a form of child abuse. Often when social care become involved, they will dictate to the victim that they must end the relationship, and that once this has been done, they will close the case, perceiving the risk to the child to be removed. However, the risk to a victim upon separating from a perpetrator increases significantly, and agencies must understand this and ensure appropriate support and safety measures are put in place.
It is also important to recognise that victims are in love their perpetrator; in some cases, this behaviour and treatment is all they have ever known and has been normalised for them and their children. Victims often do not wish to leave, or aren’t ready, this can lead to a them minimising or denying that there is abuse, and ending in social care closing the file without any effective safeguarding taking place. This can teach a child to hide the abuse from agencies, and create a distrust of agencies which will have implications throughout their lives.
Victims are often blamed for the abuse by professionals who do not understand the complex and interchangeable dynamics of abuse, stating that she should have left sooner, or had minimised abuse in the past. In order to ensure a child’s safety, the blame has to lie with the perpetrator and his controlling and harmful behaviour. Social Care often ignores the perpetrator, working only with the victim and child – managing the effects but not the cause of the abuse. This is ineffective; perpetrators have many tactics to continue their abuse, even after the relationship has ended; they often use child contact proceedings, and the Human Rights Act 2000, particularly article 8 the respect for private and family life, allowing them to continue the control and abuse. This may also cause re-victimisation, and for a child to learn that the abuse is the victim’s fault – whilst seeing the perpetrator free from blame, and not being held to account for their behaviour.
Social Services (once children are subjected to plans), often invite the perpetrator to...