THREE children died as a result of domestic abuse in Essex over 10 years – with the numbers of young victims steadily growing each year.

There were three recorded incidents where under 18s had been killed in cases with a domestic abuse motivation between 2011-2021, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Essex Police’s data also shows the number of recorded incidents of domestic abuse per year, where serious injury is cause to a child, has steadily risen each year since 2015.

In 2021, there were 541 reported incidents, up from 368 in 2018 and just 266 in 2015, with a total of 2,761 incidents across the county over the six-year period.

The overwhelming majority of victims were girls, 81.7 per cent in 2021, with more victims aged 10 and under – 62.6 per cent in 2021.

Domestic abuse against children can involve an adult threatening, bullying or hurting a child they are related to or responsible for as a guardian, or the partner of a guardian.

Barnardo’s chief executive Lynn Perry MBE says it is hard to distinguish why reported abuse is on the rise.


“Sadly, the true scale of child abuse, where it can take place, and by whom is often widely misunderstood,” she said.


“Every day, Barnardo’s sees first-hand how often children who have been abused can remain unidentified and without the support they need to recover from their trauma for weeks, months, or even years. 


“All too often, children miss out on the timely, specialist support that is so important in empowering young victims to report these terrible crimes, and to help them cope during the lengthy police investigations and legal proceedings that follow.”


Earlier this year the government awarded more than £17 million to programmes across England and Wales to support children affected by domestic abuse.

Charities and organisation offering vital support to children who have survived domestic abuse, such as counselling and one-to-one support where boosted by the cash.

“The impact of domestic abuse is devastating and it is especially heart-breaking that children are being affected by this horrific crime. This is why we have invested additional funding into vital services supporting children who have been impacted,” minister for safeguarding Sarah Dines, said.

Claire Coutinho, minister for children and families, added: “Instead of a safe and stable family life, children who experience domestic abuse are growing up with pain and conflict at home as their norm. This investment will provide crucial support like 1:1 counselling and support work for those affected by domestic abuse.”

Essex Police was contacted for comment.

Victims who are living with an abusive parent are advised to talk to someone they trust, if they feel safe to do so.

Otherwise, call Childline on 0800 1111, or sign up so you can online chat and send messages (9am - midnight)

If you can't speak, listen to the questions and tap or cough to answer. Press 55 to signal an emergency.