Half of UK millennials exposed to domestic abuse in childhood

A new poll published by domestic abuse charity Hestia highlights the devastating impact of domestic abuse on young people. The data by Opinium found that almost half of 18-34-year-olds (47%) reported witnessing a parent being a victim of domestic abuse as a child in comparison to 28% of 35-54-year olds and 17% of 55+-year-olds.

Millennials who had witnessed domestic abuse as a child said the experience had long-term consequences for them and led to:

  • 59% experiencing anxiety, depression or PTSD
  • 55% having trust issues in relationships
  • 42% have experienced exclusion from school or low academic performance
  • 34% having self-medicated with alcohol or substance misuse
  • 27% experiencing low attainment in their employment

Half of UK millennials exposed to domestic abuse in childhood

A third of Millennials affected by domestic abuse as children also believed the exposure to domestic abuse affected their siblings, with their ability to forge successful relationships being impacted the most (26%). A previous report by Pro Bono Economics for Hestia found failure to support children exposed to domestic violence costs UK taxpayers up to £1.4bn. This is made up of up to £70m for Health & Adult Social Care, up to £110m for crime, up to £790m for education and up to £460m for foster and residential care.

Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of Hestia’s domestic abuse campaign, UK SAYS NO MORE said:

“Children have long been forgotten as victims of domestic abuse. 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”

The polling strengthens UK SAYS NO MORE’s demands for the Government to enshrine specialist support for children in the Domestic Abuse Bill. So far children have been omitted from the Bill despite 50% of children who experienced domestic abuse as a child becoming a victim later in life.

The campaign, backed by 140 MPs and Lords, is calling for the new Domestic Abuse Bill to:  

  1. Recognise children in the definition of domestic abuse
  2. Give children affected by domestic abuse priority access to schools
  3. Ensure child survivors are given special waiting list status for all NHS services including Child and Adolescent Mental Health Support (CAMHS).