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Recognise children's experiences of domestic violence

This petition had 153 supporters

Children who experience domestic violence between their parents, or other adults at home, are not just passive observers or 'witnesses' to domestic violence. They are profoundly impacted by violence and coercive behaviour at home, and they find complex, creative ways to manage and cope with these experiences.

Children are not recognised as victims in the national and regional legal and policy frameworks focused on domestic violence. They tend to either be absent from legal definitions and policy on domestic violence, or they are seen as additional to adult violence This means that children are seen in law and policy as an absence, as ‘collateral damage’ to adult domestic violence. We feel this has significant consequences for the way children are seen, and the services and support that are available to them in criminal justice, social services and, to some degree, in voluntary sector organisations. Services for children who experience domestic violence are typically a ‘bolt on’ to adult oriented services, as adults, and particularly women, are seen as its main victims.

We believe that this should change. Australia has already changed the law, to reflect the impact that domestic violence between adults has on children in the household. Spanish law is also changing to remove the distinction between 'direct' and 'indirect' victims of domestic violence.  

If you agree that the full impact of domestic violence does need to be recognised in relevant law and policy, please sign this petition. Please also consider writing to your MP, to ask them to represent you on this issue. (

If you would like to know more about children's experiences of domestic violence, you can read the findings of the project "Understanding Agency and Resistance Strategies: Children's Experiences of Domestic Violence"  at, or watch the project video here


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