Page last updated at 00:15 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Children 'injured in adult rows'

A child looks out of the window
The NSPCC says young victims of domestic violence need more support

More than 300,000 British children have suffered domestic violence while trying to stop arguments between adults, an NSPCC survey suggests.

The children's charity warned children were afraid to speak about the "hidden problem" of domestic violence and there were too few places of refuge.

It called for the topic to go on the school curriculum.

The charity surveyed 1,075 11 to 16-year-olds and found seven per cent had been hurt in adult rows.

Spokeswoman Diana Sutton said: "Our survey estimates that hundreds of thousands of children are caught up in the violence.

"Domestic violence is still a hidden problem and many victims, especially children, are too scared to speak out."

Many will carry the emotional scars long after their physical injuries have healed
Diana Sutton

The NSPCC study suggests that one in 20 of the UK's 4,412,000 children have been hurt trying to break up disputes between older family members.

The children they surveyed had suffered a range of injuries including cuts, marks and bruises.

Ms Sutton added: "The UK government still treats domestic violence as largely an adult problem, but children are victims too.

"Sadly many will carry the emotional scars long after their physical injuries have healed."

Ms Sutton also warned there were too few places for children to take refuge from domestic violence.

She said: "It is imperative that the government addresses the severe shortage of therapy and refuges designed for children."

A Department for Children, Schools and Families spokeswoman said: "Keeping children and young people safe is a top priority for this government.

"We are determined to do all we can to make the existing systems and guidance as effective as possible and to strengthen them where needed."

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