A CHILDREN’S charity has called for hundreds of children in York to be recognised as victims of domestic violence.

The NSPCC said up to 22,609 children around Yorkshire and Humberside - including 261 living under City of York Council and 319 under North Yorkshire County Council - are living in abusive households, or where domestic abuse has taken place.

The charity has called on the Government to publish a White Paper and recognise children as victims when living with domestic abuse to ensure they get support to deal with the issue, and claimed a proposed new definition of domestic abuse “ignores the effect growing up in abusive households has on children”.

Almudena Lara, head of policy at the NSPCC, said: “It is quite astonishing that the Government is dragging its feet when deciding whether to recognise young people as victims when almost a quarter of a million children that we know of are living with domestic abuse in England alone.

“As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services that understand the complex trauma children living with domestic abuse experience. For this to be done effectively we need government to open their eyes to the harm domestic abuse has on children and give them victim status in the upcoming White Paper to ensure they receive the services they need.”

Department for Education figures showed domestic violence was a factor in 246,720 child protection assessments across England in 2017/18, and in 22,609 assessments in Yorkshire and Humberside.

Legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse would give children greater protection through protection orders, and would help professionals take action to help children at risk.

The call has been backed by Luke and Ryan Hart whose father Lance Hart murdered their mother Claire and sister Charlotte in 2016 in Spalding, Lincolnshire, after two decades of domestic abuse.

Ryan said: “We didn’t recognise it as abuse because there was never any violence but it was coercive control, financial, emotional, psychological abuse. What is often missed is the effects of living in that environment has on kids, growing up not only witnessing abuse but experiencing it day in and day out, how that affects us growing up and into adult life. Children living with domestic abuse are not just witnesses to the abuse, they are victims themselves. Luke and I know first-hand the psychological effects, emotional effects can have on you by seeing someone you love being a victim of abuse.”

- Adults concerned about a child living with domestic abuse can contact the NSPCC Helpline confidentially for advice and support on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk