A REPORT by a Lancashire-based domestic abuse charity has highlighted the “systemic issues and blockages” which are leaving child victims without proper support.

The study from the Wish Centre in Blackburn calls for radical changes in how young victims of domestic abuse are supported, claiming 'too few funders' want to support work with children.

It blames a 'lack of awareness' about the effects of abuse and violence between partners on children, which can result in psychological issues and harmful behaviours later in life.

The Wish Centre’s CEO, Shigufta Khan, said: “The resources just aren’t there in the volume needed, the systems and co-ordination between services aren’t good enough and children are being failed.

“The problems are experienced by one generation of victims and just get passed on to the next.”

In the report, she added: “When we can’t break the cycle for children, we fail as a society.

“I believe our report comes at an opportune time and hope that it can serve as a catalyst for the improvement which is needed in the sector as a whole.”

The charity has supported more than 2,000 children in their Blackburn refuges over 30 years, and now has dedicated programmes to help young people “address the adverse impacts of domestic violence and abuse”.

Its report also criticised local authorities for a failure to 'join up' services and says the threshold for receiving support should be lowered – an issue faced by victims nationwide.

Last year, the Local Government Association labelled domestic abuse the 'biggest threat' to child protection. Children’s charity Action for Children found some local authorities had no services for young people.

In 2019, domestic abuse charities and not-for-profit organisations in Blackburn and Darwen could bid for up to £50,000 of funding throughout 2020.

A Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council spokesman said: “We take very seriously and don’t underestimate the impact of domestic abuse on children.

“We benefit in Blackburn with Darwen from a fabulous commissioned service with the Wish Centre, who not only work with parents who are dealing with domestic abuse but provide bespoke packages of support and counselling for children who may have witnessed it.

“We will continue to work closely with them and discuss how to prioritise and meet the needs of our children and families given the financial pressures and budget constraints we face.”

A report from Women’s Aid in December estimates it will cost almost £400m a year to fill the national funding gap in domestic abuse services.

Demand for women’s abuse support services rose nationally by 83 per cent between 2007 and 2017, while funding from government and donors almost halved in the same period.

The Wish Centre’s report called for a statutory duty on local authorities to support children in domestic abuse situations.

In October, the government confirmed similar plans to place a legal duty on local authorities to deliver life-saving support to domestic abuse survivors, with £15m funding for refuges and safe accommodation projects.

A spokesman for the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “The Government is committed to ensuring all victims, including children, affected by domestic abuse receive the support they need, when they need it. Through the Domestic Abuse Bill, we are introducing a new statutory duty on councils to ensure all victims, including children, have access to safety and support within safe accommodation.”