Information for Professionals Working with Children & Young People

Children and young people who are exposed to domestic abuse may develop serious emotional, behavioural, developmental and academic problems.

All children are unique and have different levels of resilience and therefore will cope with their experiences in different ways.

Effects of Domestic Abuse on Children & Young People

Physical problems - particularly stress related problems

Changed sleeping patterns

Aggressive and disruptive behaviour

Emotional problems

Interpersonal problems

Development of an Unhealthy Belief System

Impaired cognitive functioning

Communicating with Children & Young People

Domestic Abuse causes a crisis of trust in relationships for children and young people.  Research by Thomas and O’Kane (1998a) identified the following important areas when working with them;

(Taken from ‘Children in Society’ edited by Pam Foley, Jeremy Roche and Stanley Tucker)

Messages that Children & Young People Need to Hear

Useful Contacts

Surrey County Council Children’s Services

Are the lead agency for Child Protection.  If you are a professional worker with information or concerns about a child or young person, you should call their Contact Centre on 0300 200 1006. In addition, you should also confirm your referral in writing as quickly as possible. If you are in doubt about making a referral to Surrey Children's Services, you should consult, within your agency, with the manager or practitioner with designated responsibility for child protection.

Surrey Safeguarding Child’s Board - Important Information on the following issues can be found using the links below;

What to do if you are concerned about a child or young person

SSCB Safeguarding Children (Child Protection) Procedure Manual

Training offered by the Safeguarding Children Board

Practice development groups - contacts and forthcoming meetings

Serious case reviews

Child death procedures

Help for Professionals Working within Education

Schools may be the only place where children and young people affected by domestic abuse and violence feel safe. They can play a vital role in supporting them, and in preventing abuse in the future by promoting healthy relationships and gender equality. ESDAS is happy to discuss how you can appropriately & safely raise awareness of domestic abuse and violence within your school. Alternatively Women’s Aid have produced a Toolkit for Education called Expect Respect which can be found at

Research shows that those children who are supported and given an opportunity to work through their experiences show the best recovery and go on to form good relationships in adult life.