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Children: Abuse

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether he plans to bring forward proposals for the protection of children in suspected cases of domestic violence. (322832)

Keeping children safe from all forms of abuse is a top priority for the Government. The Government recognise the strong links between safeguarding concerns and domestic violence. All professionals working with or who come into contact with children and their families, including those working in health or education, have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. If they have reason to believe that a child is at risk from harm as a result of domestic violence, they should follow the same steps to raise this concern as they would for any other child at risk of abuse. ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2010) and ‘What To Do If You're Worried a Child Is Being Abused’ (2006) provide guidance for professionals on the impact of domestic violence on children and stress the need for awareness of those links.

The National Safeguarding Delivery Unit and the National Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference Steering Group chaired by the Home Office will be working with key partners over the next few months to develop guidance for local MARAC partnerships to ensure that the cases of children which are most at risk of harm in families affected by domestic violence are indentified and prioritised.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what his Department's policy is on helping children affected by domestic abuse through (a) training professionals to consider the needs of the children involved and (b) provision of support services for children and families affected. (322918)

Keeping children safe from all forms of harm, including the effects of domestic violence, is a top priority for the Government.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) have a responsibility to ensure that single-agency and inter-agency training on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is provided in order to meet local needs. LSCBs should also evaluate the quality of the training, ensuring that relevant training is provided by individual organisations and checking that the training is reaching the relevant staff within organisations.

The Government are providing over £170 million for 2009-11 for local authorities, working with partners, to implement Think Family reforms and projects to secure better outcomes for children and families with additional needs, including those affected by domestic violence. Key to these reforms and projects is co-ordinating the support these families receive from children, adult and family services. In particular, family intervention projects are working intensively with families with complex needs, including those affected by domestic violence, through key workers and multi-agency whole family support plans. The Government have committed to expand family intervention projects to 10,000 families a year from 2012-13.