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Council Services:


Children witness violence and abuse in the home in a number of different ways. They may see or hear the abuse, be used or even involved in the violence (e.g. the child may be in the arms of the parent/carer during a physical attack), they may be upstairs in bed but able to hear the arguments, they will experience the aftermath, and sense the tension in the build-up to the abuse or afterwards

On many occasions when the parents believe the children were unaware of what was happening, or have tried to protect the children from hearing and seeing the abuse, they will, even very young children, often give detailed accounts of the events.

As well as the physical violence often found in abusive relationships, the children will almost certainly be subjected to frequent emotional abuse of the non-abusive parent, in the form of name-calling, accusations and threats made by the abuser in their presence. As mentioned above, where the none abusive parent is being abused, the children are also likely to be abused themselves.

This is most true of emotional abuse, where the children’s own self-esteem is battered by being shouted at, told they are stupid or are not trying hard enough, or given mixed messages by being favoured one moment and put-down the next. Quite apart from possible physical involvement or direct abuse, these emotionally damaging actions have a detrimental and often long-lasting effect on the children.

The following video highlights the fact that as children we are not naturally violent or abusive towards each other. Something changes as we grow into adulthood. Therefore it is important to support children to understand that the abuse they may witness as a child is not healthy and not to continue into their own adulthood.


Source: & YouTube


The Family Group Conference Service in Lincolnshire
In Lincolnshire we have a Family Group Conference (FGC) Service which works across the county with children and their families where there is a social care plan (Child in Need; Child Protection or a Looked after Child) and in some cases will work with families who are involved in Team around the Child.
The Family Group Conference is a decision making meeting in which a child’s wider family network come together to make a support plan to ensure that the child is kept safe and his/her wellbeing is promoted. The FGC Practitioner undertakes visits with the family members including the children to discuss the worries and ask them to think about how they can offer support to a plan to keep everyone safe. They will then arrange a meeting to bring everyone together to discuss the worries again and then ask them to come up with a plan to keep everyone safe. This will include seeing the children in the family. If it is not possible to bring everyone together in one room because it feels unsafe or family live a long way away then the FGC Practitioner will write a plan from the conversations they have had with everyone on a home visit or on the telephone.

The Family Group Conference Service is widely accessed by families were domestic abuse is highlighted by the referrer as a concern; on the 31/03/2016, 56% of the families (63 families) we were working with there was a concern about domestic abuse.

The domestic abuse can be happening now or it happened in the past. The plan may be about support for you and your parents immediate needs or it could be about how you can safely see the parent you are not now living with due to the domestic abuse perpetrated by them.

We make sure that your voice is heard by the adults in your life, which is really important as sometimes your parents are so focused on their arguments and fights that they didn’t think about how this was effecting you; their child! We will always send you your own copy of the family plan whether you attended the FGC meeting or not.

It is key that within each Family Group Conference, the child’s voice is captured and where appropriate they attend the conference. The FGC Practitioner will speak to your parent and gain consent to come and meet with you, in a place where you feel safe. Most children will ask to be seen at school or will identify where and when they want to be seen. The FGC practitioner will ask you questions; about what makes you happy, what you are worried about and what you would like to happen in the future. This could just be a conversation, or it could be through playing games or colouring sheets or crafts.
This is just one part of how you as a child and your parent/s can be supported to work together to deal with the abuse you are experiencing or have experienced in the past.


Lincolnshire’s [online counselling website] if you need to talk to someone online visit this website, they are here to help you with any issue you may have, big or small.

The Hideout

The Hideout, is a website which provides advice, support and information for children affected by Domestic Abuse. Follow this link to visit their website.

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Last updated: 16 February 2017

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