Children living with domestic abuse

Nuffield Foundation funded research project on children growing up with domestic abuse

Project summary

Title: Children living with domestic abuse – understanding the effects on children’s wellbeing using longitudinal data

Duration: October 2019 – September 2022

This project will investigate how living with different types of domtestic violence in early childhood affects children over time. It will explore how exposure to domestic violence correlates with or affects children’s chances of being victims of violence themselves, their emotional wellbeing and mental health, and their subsequent behaviour towards others.

An estimated 1 in 5 children in the UK live with domestic violence, and 1 in 4 adult women in the UK experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. Recently, the Education Secretary in England has named children exposed to domestic violence as a priority group in respect to early help to improve social, psychological and educational outcomes.

The study is timely in relation to current legal changes in how domestic violence and child maltreatment are defined and addressed, and findings are intended to inform policy and service development to support families and children exposed to domestic violence. Key audiences include national and local government units and third sector organisations working with victims of domestic violence and issues relating to child protection.

This project uses mainly data from the Growing Up in Scotland longitudinal survey.


Research team

Valeria Skafida - Project lead

Project lead
Dr Valeria Skafida

Social Policy, School of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh

Dr Fiona Morrison

Dr Fiona Morrison

Centre for Child Wellbeing & Child Protection, University of Stirling

Professor John Devaney


Professor John Devaney

Social Work, School of Social & Political Science, University of Edinburgh