Best Practice

Supporting the children who live with domestic abuse

Clare Stafford continues her series on vulnerable learners with advice on how schools can spot and support those young people who are living with domestic abuse

Children who are dealing with domestic violence and abuse are more likely to perform badly at school and may well suffer from mental health issues. They may grow up feeling anxious and depressed and find it difficult to get on with other people.

Boys seem to express their distress more outwardly, for example by becoming aggressive and disobedient, while girls are more likely to keep their distress inside. They may become withdrawn and are more likely to have an eating disorder or to self-harm (Royal College of Psychiatrists).

Gill Allen is an occupational therapist who has worked in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for 26 years and in partnership with schools in the Croydon area for the last 17 years.

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