“Are influencers online negatively influencing our children to consider domestic abuse is OK?”

Posted on: October 18th, 2023

The Domestic Abuse Act has helped raise the issue of domestic abuse and to bring It to the forefront of everyone’s minds, bringing an understanding as to what is domestic abuse as there are many forms. A good and clear understanding of what domestic abuse is supports the reduction of abuse  from a young age, starting with our children.

Children who see or hear domestic abuse or experience the effects of domestic abuse are themselves victims of domestic abuse.  Women’s Aid have recently published what has been described as a “first of its kind” report into what influences children and young people’s attitudes towards domestic abuse.

The research was initially undertaken to assist in the design of education about relationships for children and young people highlighting the positive influence that structured relationships, sex and health education programmes can have on a child.

However, the research has shown factors that influence and harm children today, particularly with the easy access to information online and social media, and those influencers in the public eye.

The key findings are children and young people being exposed to misogynistic social media content,  were almost 5x more likely than those not exposed to viewing such content, to  hurting someone physically  and believing it was acceptable behaviour,  if you say sorry afterwards.

The research also found that worrying behaviour such as harassing text messages, stalking and unwanted gifts, often indicating controlling behaviour, was considered acceptable in children who had witnessed harmful content online.  Further, 1 in 4 women felt that they had no understanding of pre-existing trauma and whilst 70% of children and young people said they would seek support if affected by domestic abuse, 61% of them were unsure or did not know where to go for this.

With that said, the starting point is with their parents, grown family members, and adults in their lives teaching and ensuring that the children know who they can talk to if they are worried or are suffering forms of domestic abuse.  Adults need to screen the content that children are having sight of on social media, we need to protect our children from this harmful content to ensure that they do not grow to believe that this behaviour is acceptable.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from abuse, point them in the right direction, be that domestic abuse agencies in the local area, or urge them to seek support from the schools and other professionals such as solicitors or social workers.  Cygnet Law are here to provide free and non-judgemental advice and support to those who are suffering from domestic abuse, and will be able to point victims in the right direction, should they require that assistance.

Prepaped by Melanie Wood, Head of Private Family Law.

Melanie Wood


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