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Last Updated: Tuesday August 15 2006 17:36 GMT

Hotseat: Experts answer domestic violence questions

Domestic violence
A report has said that almost a million children in the UK are living in a home where domestic violence is a problem.

Newsround spoke to experts Ruth Breslin and Adrian Brown from children's charity the NSPCC to find out more about domestic violence and what to do if it affects you?

What exactly is domestic violence? - Clare, 10, Sheffield

It's something that happens regularly, and in a pattern.

It's often between parents and can involve other family members. It's when one parent or adult family member is being violent or nasty or cruel to another.

They scare them and make them afraid. Sometimes it can involve hitting, but sometimes it's shouting and swearing.

Domestic violence affects children because they often see and hear the fighting that is happening.

What is your advice to kids who are dealing with these problems, but are too afraid to talk about them? - Ellie, 13, Leeds

You're not the only person this is happening too, and this is not your fault.

It's very hard to talk about what's happening, but it is important that you get help.

Is there an adult you trust who you can talk too? It might someone in your family or it might be a teacher.

If you want to talk to someone who doesn't know who you are you could get in contact with Childline on 0800 11 11.

They talk to lots of young people who live with domestic violence.

I'm worried about one of my friends who has told me they're scared by what's happening in their house, what should I do?

Keeping domestic violence a secret could mean it keeps happening.

It's great that your friend has told you what's happening. Could you encourage your friend to talk to a trusted adult?

If you think you're friend is in really serious danger explain to them that you might have to tell someone who can help.

Is domestic violence only done by men to women?

In most cases domestic violence is done by men to women, but men can be the victims too.

It doesn't matter who is hitting who, it's equally wrong and very hard for children to live with.

No-one should have to put up with it.

My mum drinks wine every night and tries to pick fights with my dad. It's really upsetting and every time I try to talk about her drinking, she does not listen. Please help?

Can you try and talk to your dad and tell him how you feel?

Your dad might be worried about your mum too, and if you discuss it together you might be able to work out what's best to do.

Is there another family member who could help and talk to your mum or your dad for you?

Should I run away from my mum? She hits me and swears at me because I didn't do well in my exams?

It's terrible that you don't feel safe at home, but it's not safe to run away either.

It's dangerous on the streets for children on their own.

It's wrong that you're being hit at home, even if you haven't done well in your exams. It's not your fault.

You don't deserve to be hit and sworn at for any reason.

It's really important that you tell another adult that you trust what is happening. You may have another family member or teacher that you get on well with that you could tell.

If you need help or advice, visit Childline's website or The Hideout by using the right hand link or call Childline on free telephone 0800 1111