Thousands of Black Country children in abusive households, new figures reveal
ALMOST 6,500 children across the Black Country are growing up in abusive households, new figures have revealed.
Thousands of young people in the region are suffering 'complex trauma' from living with others who are battling domestic abuse.
It comes as the NSPCC calls on the government to recognise these young people as victims under the law.
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.”
The Government is set to publish a White Paper for its Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill, which will contain its proposed new definition of domestic abuse.
But the NSPCC claims the new definition ignores the effect growing up in abusive households has on children, despite it being a factor in more than half of child protection assessments across England last year.
It only concerns the effect of abuse on young people aged 16 and over, the charity added.
Data from the Department for Education revealed domestic violence was a factor in more than 246,700 child protection assessments across England last year.
This included 6,421 children from the Black Country - 2,750 children in Sandwell, 2,040 young people in Walsall, 916 in Wolverhampton and 715 in Dudley.
These children are not legally recognised as victims but need to be to offer them greater protection through domestic abuse protection orders and to help professionals take action to protect them.
It would also help authorities ensure there are specific services to help young people overcome the trauma of exposure to domestic abuse.
The charity went on to say the Government will 'miss an opportunity' to protect children from the effects of domestic abuse if it ignores its calls to recognise them as victims.