Parental domestic abuse


This section of the website focuses on children living in families where there is domestic abuse. The nature of the problem, the extent of the problem, the impact on children, and broad guidance of how to respond will be summarised.

Ideas for further reading and resources will be given; you can also access websites, organisations and literature in your own country (your country’s ENCARE page or web-site might be a useful start). This website does not focus on issues relating to the perpetrators of domestic violence and aggression. However, one of our ENCARE projects (TAVIM) has focused on perpetrators.

›› Go to the Encare network page
›› Read more about TAVIM project 

What is domestic abuse?

We define domestic abuse as:

physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse or violence which takes place within an intimate or family type relationship. This can include forced marriage and so-called ‘honor crimes’.

This definition draws on a British Government definition (Home Office, 2004) and one from Women’s Aid (a UK charity which supports women and children affected by domestic violence).

It is important to highlight that domestic abuse may include a wide range of behaviours, including neglectful parenting or child discipline. It has therefore been recommended that the term ‘domestic abuse’ should be used rather than ‘domestic violence’. This is because many over simplistically equate the term ‘domestic violence’ with physical violence only, thus overlooking a catalogue of other forms of violence and abuse. Hence, the term domestic abuse is the one that is used in this website.

Domestic abuse is becoming increasingly recognised as an international problem and one which can seriously affect children (United Nations, 2006; World Health Organisation, 2002). At a European level, “Building a Europe For and With Children” is a Council of Europe programme with the central aim of eradicating all violence against children by focusing on the protection of children, the prevention of violence, the prosecution of criminals and the participation of children. The programme highlights the particular needs of groups of vulnerable children which, whilst not specified, should include children living with parental violence and aggression (and/or parental alcohol misuse).

Useful reading

Council of Europe “Building a Europe For and With Children”. › link to source

UNICEF (2006). Behind Closed Coors. The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children. › link to source 

United Nations report on Violence against Children (2006) › link to source