Campaign targets the ‘hidden’ abuse victims

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About 20,000 children in West Yorkshire witnessed domestic abuse last year, police have said.

The figure was revealed as West Yorkshire Police starts a campaign to increase the reporting of incidents.

The force said there was a total of 43,000 reported domestic abuse offences during the last 12 months, but that many victims remain “hidden”.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said: “We know from research that children who grow up in homes where domestic abuse occurs are more likely to under-perform at school and become involved in crime and substance abuse.

“They may also suffer greater incidences of mental ill health.

“The consequences can affect their whole life, damaging their adult relationships and the welfare of their own children in years to come.

“Ending domestic abuse is vital, not only for the adults who are victimised but for children as well.”

As part of its campaign, the force is releasing a series of videos over the next fortnight about the issue of domestic abuse and highlighting the support available to victims.

Mr Foster added: “By acting now, we can change the future of thousands of children, providing support and providing the opportunity for them to grow up away from the impact of domestic abuse.”