Half of all UK millennials witnessed domestic abuse during childhood
Almost half of British ‘millennials’ report being exposed to domestic abuse during childhood, with a significant number going on to suffer long-term negative consequences as a result, a new survey reveals.
Forty-seven per cent of the 2,004 18 to 34-year-olds questioned reported witnessing a parent being a victim of domestic abuse as a child, compared with 28 per cent of 35 to 54-year-olds and 17 per cent of those over the age of 55.
It is not clear if this is due to instances of domestic abuse rising in recent years, or because younger people have become more aware of it, with emotional abuse, coercive control and financial abuse now as much an issue as physical violence.
The research was conducted on behalf of domestic abuse charity Hestia, which said it highlighted the “devastating impact” of domestic abuse on young people.
Millennials who had witnessed domestic abuse as a child said the experience had long-term consequences for them, with almost 60 per cent saying they had experienced anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Half said they had trust issues in relationships.
A third had self-medicated with alcohol or substance misuse as a result; 42 per cent had experienced exclusion from school or low academic performance; while 27 per cent said they had experienced low attainment in their employment.
Around one in three believed the exposure to domestic abuse had also affected their siblings, while 26 per cent said their ability to forge successful relationships was impacted the most.
“Children have long been forgotten as victims of domestic abuse,” said Lyndsey Dearlove of Hestia. “The data reveals the urgent need for specialist support for children as the long-term impact of domestic abuse can shape a person’s life. The new Domestic Abuse Bill could create a monumental shift in society’s response to domestic abuse and allow all those experiencing domestic abuse access to vital services to break the cycle of abuse. We must not fail another generation.”