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Calls for assistance for families to open up about domestic violence to be a public health priority

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has warned that helping families and children to open up about experiencing domestic violence should be a public health priority.  NICE have set out how various medical staff can have a more active role in responding to victims of domestic violence and spotting signs of the same.

Over 940,000 incidents of domestic violence were reported to the police in England and Wales 2015.  In 20% of cases the victims admitted that their children had seen or heard the attack in their home.  There is currently significant concern over the number of domestic violence incidents viewed by children and the affect this can have on them as they grow up.

Professor Gene Feder from the University of Bristol, who has been involved in developing the domestic violence guidelines in line with NICE, says; “Almost half of all people who report domestic abuse have children. Even if they escape being hurt directly, witnessing abuse can still have lasting physical and emotional effects on a child or young person.  They may suffer from bed wetting, insomnia, depression or anxiety. They are also at increased risk of experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence as adults.  The true number of children who are exposed to domestic violence may be even greater as many parents are too scared to come forward."

NICE has set out guidance to local authorities in which it recommends services working together to create campaigns to encourage people to talk about domestic violence.

Samantha Lee, Managing Director and Head of Family Law at Swain & Co Solicitors says, “It is concerning that there are significant numbers of domestic violence cases occurring throughout England and Wales.  Anything which can be done to help identify victims of domestic violence and provide them with the necessary assistance can only be a positive thing.”

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are seeking legal advice about your situation call Swain & Co today on 02392 483322.

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