Quarter of parents who suffered domestic abuse say it took place during pregnancy

Maya Oppenheim
·2 min read
<p>The most common reason for parents who endured abuse during pregnancy or the start of their child’s life not pursuing help stemmed from feeling ashamed - with almost four in ten saying this</p> (ALAMY)

The most common reason for parents who endured abuse during pregnancy or the start of their child’s life not pursuing help stemmed from feeling ashamed - with almost four in ten saying this

(ALAMY)

A quarter of parents who have suffered domestic abuse said it took place during pregnancy, a new study has found.

The report, carried out by The For Baby’s Sake Trust, discovered a third of all parents have had a partner be abusive to them, surging to 54 per cent for parents who experienced domestic abuse in their family home when they were growing up.

Researchers, who polled 2224 parents, found around a fifth of all parents had witnessed domestic abuse in their family home during their childhood - with a fifth of them saying lockdown measures have brought up trauma from that time in their lives.

Amanda McIntyre, chief executive of The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said: “This research really brings home why it is so important we give new parents the support they need to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their babies a better start in life.

“Raising a baby can be an amazing, positive and life-changing experience but it can also be a real challenge, particularly if the parents have had a traumatic childhood or are in an abusive relationship.

“This isn’t inevitable, there is another way and we have a duty to give these parents the support they need to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their babies the best possible start in life.”

The organisation, which seeks to disrupt patterns of domestic violence, found four in ten parents who suffered domestic abuse said it took place during their baby’s first 1001 days from pregnancy until the second birthday of the child.

Some 40 per cent of parents who had endured abuse at the hands of their partner during pregnancy or the start of their child’s life said they felt unable to ask for support while a third said they were unsure of where and how to access help.

The most common reason for not pursuing help stemmed from feeling ashamed - with almost four in ten saying this.

Best Beginnings, a charity which aims to give children the best possible start in life, estimates over a third of domestic violence starts or gets worse when a woman is pregnant and 40 to 60 per cent of women experiencing domestic violence are abused while pregnant.

It also estimates more than 14 per cent of maternal deaths occur in women who have told their health professional they are in an abusive relationship.

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