RCPsych responds to ONS data on childhood vulnerability to victimisation

Statement / comment
05 November 2020

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released new data on the victimisation and negative behaviours of children aged 10 to 15 years living in a household with an adult who reported experiencing domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental ill-health (the so-called "toxic trio" factors), based on findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW).

Commenting on the data, Dr Bernadka Dubicka, Chair of the Child and Adolescent Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “This concerning new data reveals the extent of the damaging impact of mental illness, domestic abuse and drug misuse on the lives of children, and their vulnerability to victimisation and bullying.

“It is essential that we expand access to community mental health and specialist addictions services. Doing so will not only help ensure more people with mental illness and addictions get the support they need, but it can also help prevent a harmful cycle of mental illness and victimisation in our children and young people.

“We can’t ignore the role of socioeconomic circumstances. Poverty, poor housing and deprivation are significant factors for both mental illness and victimisation in parents and in children.

“This new research could help services that work with children, as well as services that work with parents, to better identify, support and safeguard vulnerable children in society.”

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