Domestic abuse affecting children more during pandemic
Instances of children living in homes with domestic abuse have risen because of the pandemic.
Reports to the NSPCC’s confidential helpline saw a rise in these reports being passed to agencies such as the police and local authorities.
It says referrals to agencies in Scotland about children in abusive households has increased by more than 30% since April last year.
And it warns they are likely to rise further under the current lockdown.
The charity said concerns raised with its helpline include neighbours reporting non-stop arguing and children crying.
A total of 377 reports were made to the police and social workers between April 1 and December 31. Neighbours have increasingly reported hearing arguing and children crying to the charity’s confidential helpline.
One person who called the helpline for advice said: “For the past few weeks, I’ve been hearing loud and aggressive shouting between a man and woman who live a few doors away from me.
"They’re at it pretty much every day and it generally lasts a couple of hours. Sometimes I hear their children crying when the parents are arguing. I’ve only really noticed this since I’ve been at home on furlough. I’m worried the kids aren’t being looked after properly.”
One 13-year-old told the helpline: “Recently my mum has been yelling at me and calling me names for no apparent reason. My parents fight a lot, like really a lot. My dad overreacts but mum makes the situation worse.
"Today my parents got in a huge argument that included a lot of shouting and my dad was throwing things at my mum. I was shocked because none of their fights have got physical before, and now I am wondering how bad things could get.
“My parents don’t talk any more and they treat me like their little messenger passing comments between them. It is really affecting me as I constantly feel anxious and cry myself to sleep. I really need help.”
The charity said that children who witness domestic abuse can have trouble learning, can experience depression or suicidal thoughts or develop eating disorders or drug or alcohol problems.
Joanna Barrett, NSPCC Scotland’s policy and public affairs manager, said: “With families facing increased pressure behind closed doors, lockdown restrictions have made some children more vulnerable to experiencing domestic abuse, as well as other forms of abuse and neglect.
“It is vital that no child becomes invisible at this time, and support is available and provided now to all children and families who need it.”