Best Coalition

Improving support for children who experience domestic abuse – Women’s Aid and Action for Children 

To all survivors who shared their experiences, your voice matters and we will continue to do all we can to amplify your calls for change.

The Campaign

Each year around 800,000 children experience domestic abuse in England. The consequences can be devastating. Children can struggle with physical and mental health, and their development and ability to learn can also be affected. But children often struggle to access the specialist support they need.  

In 2018, the Government published proposals to ‘transform society’s response to domestic abuse, which was welcome stepbut the plans ignored the needs of children – a glaring omission. Action for Children and Women’s Aid brought together domestic abuse, violence against women and girls, and children’s organisations, for the first time in many years, to unite their collective might and expertise.  

The campaign sought to raise children’s experiences up the political agendafollowed by securing legislative changes in the Domestic Abuse Bill. They amplified the voices and expertise of survivors and frontline services, which brought authority and authenticity to the campaign. 

The Change

The coalition changed the political conversation on domestic abuse. Children went from being completely excluded to becoming integral to all scrutiny of the Domestic Abuse Bill, which is evident in Parliamentary speeches and debates. 

It also secured policy change in the new Domestic Abuse Act (2021)Children are now recognised as victims of domestic abuse within the statutory definition. There is now greater focus on the impact of domestic abuse on children, as well as teenage relationship abuse, in the statutory guidance that shapes how public bodies interact with children. And the remit of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner has been extended to focus on children. 


The Future

The coalition has achieved a great deal already, but its work continues. They are working with the Government to press for funding for specialist support. They also continue to shape policy, including the Victims Bill and wider statutory guidance, like the Department for Education’s ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’.    

Who else was involved?

All survivors who shared their stories, either with frontline services, with organisations, or who gave written or oral evidence to politicians whilst the Bill was being scrutinised. 

Coalition members: Action for Children, Women’s Aid, Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse, Agenda, Against Violence and Abuse, Barnardo’s, Drive Project, End Violence Against Women, Free Your Mind, Hestia, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC, SafeLives, The Children’s Society, Trevi House, UK SAYS NO MORE, Professor Callaghan and Dr Katz. 


  • Nicole Jacobs, Domestic Abuse Commissioner  
  • Dame Vera Baird QC, Victims Commissioner  
  • Anne Longfield, former Children’s Commissioner  
  • Victoria Atkins MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Safeguarding 
  • Jess Phillips MP, Shadow Domestic Violence and Safeguarding Minister  
  • MPs and Peers from across the political divide who supported our calls.