Action for Children responds to a record rise in contacts to the NSPCC's helpline about children impacted by domestic abuse

Posted by / Wednesday 10 June 2020 /

In response to a record rise in contacts to the NSPCC’s Helpline about children impacted by domestic abuse during lockdown, head of policy and research at Action for Children, Eleanor Briggs, said:

“This alarming new evidence shows that for thousands of children exposed to horrifying physical and psychological abuse under lockdown, the ‘stay at home’ message sadly did not mean ‘stay safe’.

“The lockdown’s impact on our most vulnerable children trapped behind closed doors shows just how vital it is the Government gets this Bill right and recognises them as innocent victims, not just witnesses. Throughout the crisis our frontline workers have been carrying out doorstop visits at a safe distance to give us eyes on families we know are at risk, but what these children desperately need in the long term are the right laws to keep them safe.

“We urgently need to grasp the once-in-a-generation chance this Bill gives us to shape how society protects and helps children at risk and out of sight, to give them the chance of a safe and happy childhood. Children have to be at the heart of it, along with real investment in specialist services and fresh thinking on how we tackle our wider childhood crisis with a National Childhood Strategy.”



Huw Beale, Action for Children press office – 07718 114 038 /

Out of hours – 07802 806 679 /



Action for Children’s November 2019 report ‘Patchy, piecemeal and precarious: support for children affected by domestic abuse’ found that, on average in England, there are 692 children’s social care assessments carried out every day that highlight domestic violence as a feature of a child or young person’s life. The report also found:

  • Overall, children faced barriers to accessing support in at least two thirds of the local authorities interviewed.
  • In four of the 30 local authorities who were interviewed, there were no support services available for children affected by domestic abuse at all.
  • Services for children were dependent on time-limited funding in nearly two-thirds of the local authority areas, or 19 out of the 30.
  • Several of those interviewed also indicated that the coercive and controlling dynamics of domestic abuse were not given enough weight in work with children and young people. However, research shows that perpetrators’ coercive and controlling behaviours impact on children, too.

About Action for Children: Action for Children protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. With 476 services in communities across the UK, the charity helps more than 387,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers a year.