Mainstream services let down children affected by domestic violence

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Services for children affected by domestic violence are “patchy” and insecurely funded, the National Social Services conference heard today.

Launching new guidance for local commissioners, Margaret McGlade, the Association of Directors of Social Services spokesperson on domestic violence, said children were not linked into mainstream services and relied largely voluntary sector services.

“Domestic violence has not been seen as a children’s issue, and the voices of children affected by domestic violence are not heard,” McGlade told a conference seminar.

There are currently around 23,000 children in refuges and 106,000 children in the community who have been affected by domestic violence, according to research presented by charity Women’s Aid at the seminar.

The ADSS, along with Women’s Aid, Cafcass and the Local Government Association, launched guidance for directors of children’s services, cabinet members with lead responsibility for children and their local safeguarding boards.

The guidance focuses on improving Every Child Matters outcomes for children affected by domestic violence including ensuring that staff are able to make appropriate referrals to specialist domestic violence or child protection services.

The guidance is open for consultation until 31 January next year.

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