Charity sees more baby
victims of domestic abuse
FIGURES released by Buttle UK; a
UK wide charity providing financial support to help children (up to the age of
18) in crisis; has shown a staggering growth in the number of young victims
exposed to domestic abuse.
Buttle UK's exclusive figures show that the number of grants awarded to families
affected by domestic abuse rose by 22% between 2015 and 2016. Over ₤1m was
awarded to those families affected by domestic abuse last year alone.
Even more alarming is the statistic that nearly 10,000 children who were
referred to Buttle UK last year had been affected by domestic abuse; out of
these 3,384 children were aged 4 or under. This represents an increase of 35% on
the number of cases in this age group compared to the year before.
Although Buttle UK was setup to support children and young people who are in
financial hardship and are dealing with other serious social issues, domestic
abuse is consistently becoming the primary reason why they get referrals (and
this is true across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales). Looking at
the reasons as to why families were referred to the charity during the last 5
years, 27% stated the primary or secondary reason for support was domestic
abuse. This equates to 15,483 of 57,024 cases referred to Buttle UK during this
Of the children and young people supported by Buttle UK grants over the last 5
years 35,380 out of 121,540 were affected by domestic abuse. The charity
registered a 29% increase in the number of children in this category last year.
The types of abuse registered included physical, mental and sexual abuse. In
most cases the children had witnessed the abuse taking place in the home, often
on an ongoing basis. For many their behaviour had become either withdrawn or
challenging as a result.
Buttle UK is a unique children's charity, with their administration costs
covered by a legacy set up by its founder, clergyman Frank Buttle, some 60 years
ago. This means that the charity is in a position to offer donors the
opportunity for every penny of a gift to go directly to support the cause. Today
they are the country's largest grant-awarding charity, focusing funding directly
on children and young people and the main distributor of small grants for BBC
Children in Need.
Commenting on the figures Gerri McAndrew, CEO of Buttle UK said:-
"Domestic abuse is an extensive and largely under-reported problem across the
UK. Support services often assume that a child's needs can be met by addressing
the needs of the abused parent. The increase in referrals we have seen may be a
result of better awareness of the issue in general, but we still believe that
the specific issues that children face in these situations are not being
identified and met.
We believe that this is the tip of the iceberg. It is estimated that 20% of
children in the UK have been exposed to domestic abuse, but there has been very
little published data in this area. The high number of children affected by the
issue is key to the rationale for our 'Chances for Children' campaign which
hopes to raise an additional ₤10m over the next 5 years to help meet the
inevitable increase in need to support these cases going forward."
McAndrew added:- "The current Government's policy on domestic violence has
no specific provision for children affected by domestic abuse, and there are
currently no official statistics on the number of children who live with it.
During this election we are calling for all parties to identify and prioritise
the needs of these children in their manifestos. We hope the next Government
will drive forward systemic change in how support services account for the needs
How Buttle UK are responding to the rise in children affected by domestic abuse
Over the last 3 years Buttle UK have been piloting an innovative new approach to
supporting children affected by domestic abuse. They have been providing grants
up to the value of ₤2000 that can be spent on a wide range of items and costs
Help victims of domestic abuse to resettle after leaving an abusive relationship; making them less vulnerable to returning to an abusive relationship as they
try to live independently for the first time. Here we have provided the families
with essential household items required, establishing an independent, long term
and secure home.
Specific funding targeted at children to help
them overcome their experiences and settle into their new surroundings. This has
included:- tutoring lessons, homework clubs, uniforms, computers, educational
toys, after school clubs, swimming lessons, football, drama clubs, karate
lessons, play therapy and lastly counselling.
To date this initiative has awarded 470 grants to the tune of ₤580,000. This
project was supported with funding from the City of London Corporation's
charity, the City Bridge Trust and ran across all London Boroughs and the
average grant awarded was ₤1240.
An independent evaluation of the project has found that
the grants offer:-
► A new beginning, that is more dignified than it would have been.
► Reduction in tension within the family:
improving family functioning.
in parental stress linked to household and financial management and an
improvement in parenting capacity.
► Reduction in mother's isolation: improving
support networks and resources she can draw on.
► Paying for extra tuition helps children to
'catch up' and increase confidence. It helps to address missed school, school
changes and disengagement due to trauma.
► Paying for after school activities help to
improve children's behaviour at, and engagement with, school.
► Computers are now essential for secondary
school children. Paying for these reduces the complicated arrangements and costs
associated with not having a computer at home.
► Parents in this situation are more typically
focused on the 'here and now' grant helped to support successful post-crisis
For the support services, the grants
helped to make services more child centred, by encouraging them to think about
the children's needs. They improved the relationship between referrer agency and
client, due to the level of practical support provided.
Buttle UK's 'Chances for Children Campaign' is set to raise an additional
₤10m to help thousands of children in crisis. Last year Buttle UK awarded 10,000
grants reaching early 30,000 children and amounting to ₤3.9m. ₤2.25m was awarded
to families on behalf of BBC Children in Need.
Donations to help young children experiencing domestic abuse can be made at:-
ButtLeuk.Org. Video can be watched on