Children: Domestic Violence

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd July 2016.

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Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Labour, Great Grimsby

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether her Department has assessed the effect of experiencing domestic violence in the home on the educational attainment of pupils at primary and secondary school.

Photo of Melanie Onn Melanie Onn Labour, Great Grimsby

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if she will estimate the number of children at primary and secondary school who have experienced domestic violence at home.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson Minister of State (Education)

We know that educational outcomes for children in need or on child protection plans are generally worse than their peers.

This is published in the annual children in need census which is matched to the national pupil database to show attainment levels at both key stage 2 and key stage 4 for children in need, including those who have experienced domestic violence in the home (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/children-in-need-census).

This latest data is published on gov.uk within the ‘outcomes tables’ at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2014-to-2015.

Domestic violence is the most common factor identified in social worker assessments of children. We must continue to improve our understanding and response to this issue. The Home Office leads a wide-ranging cross-Government programme of work to address violence against women and girls, which includes domestic violence. In addition, on 7 July DfE announced up to £2.25 million in grant funding to VCS organisations over an 18 month period to help address key priorities on safeguarding, specifically including domestic violence.

While numbers of children for whom domestic violence is identified as a factor at assessment is published in the children in need census, attainment data for these children is not published and would only be available at disproportionate cost.

In the year ending 31 March 2015, there were around 45,500 children aged between 5 and 10 inclusive (primary school age1) and 31,200 aged between 11 and 16 inclusive (secondary school age1), recorded as having domestic violence identified as a factor at the end of their assessment by children’s social care. The purpose of an assessment is to gather information and evidence about a child’s developmental needs and the parents’ capacity to meet these needs within the context of the wider family and community. This information should be used to inform decisions about the help needed by the child.

Please note that this may not cover all children who have experienced domestic violence, but provides an estimate of those children that have been referred to children’s social care who have been assessed in the year and domestic violence was a factor identified. This information is collected within the children in need census (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/children-in-need-census). The latest information can be found in the ‘Characteristics of children in need’ statistical first release (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/characteristics-of-children-in-need-2014-to-2015).

[1] Age calculated at 31 March 2015.

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