SWINDON X Factor star Jahmene Douglas is backing an NSPCC campaign to recognise children living with domestic abuse as victims under the law.

There are more than 800 domestic violence cases where there are children in the home in Swindon, and 2,000 more across Wiltshire.

The government’s proposed new definition of domestic abuse ignores the effect that growing up in abusive households has on children, despite it being a factor in more than half of child protection assessments across England last year.

Jahmene, who is backing the call for action, described his home as a ‘prison’ after witnessing his father abuse his mother for several years throughout his childhood.

When describing his experience, he said: “There was a sense of fear, physically and mentally. For me, mentally sticks with you the most – that is what keeps you under control.

“I would say the most painful time is after the abuser has left and you’re learning to be free, it has taken me all this time to learn how to be free.

“I would urge people to deal with it sooner. When you deal with pain you make yourself numb to it so you don’t feel it.

“You live from day to day and I spent years pretending I was okay.”

The NSPCC is urging the government to publish its Domestic Violence and Abuse White Paper without delay. It says the government will miss an opportunity to protect vulnerable youngsters from the effects of domestic abuse if it ignores calls to recognise them as victims in their own right.

Jade Johnson, NSPCC team manager for children’s services in Swindon, said: “It is quite astonishing that the government is dragging its feet when deciding whether to recognise young people as victims when almost a quarter of a million children that we know of are living with domestic abuse in England alone.

“As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services that understand the complex trauma children living with domestic abuse experience."

Legal recognition as victims of domestic abuse would give children greater explicit protection through domestic abuse protection orders, would help professionals to take action to protect children at risk, and would help authorities ensure there are specific services to help young people overcome the trauma of exposure to domestic abuse.


SWINDON Borough Council is providing services and support to help families who are suffering domestic abuse.

Over the past few months there has been a push to do more to raise awareness of the effect this can have on people, as well as how to spot the signs of someone going through this.

A spokesman said: “We recognise the impact of domestic abuse on children in Swindon and by working collaboratively with our partners, a wide range of support has been made available across the borough for children and their families.

“The council’s family Sservice and the Butterflies Family Centre support and work with families where domestic abuse is an issue. Swindon Women’s Aid, which is commissioned by the council, runs a group work programme to support children exposed to domestic abuse and to reduce the trauma of witnessing domestic abuse.

“Over the next few months, we will be recruiting new early intervention practitioners who will help families where domestic abuse has been identified.

“If anyone needs more information or has any concerns, they should call Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service on 01793 610610 at any time.”