More than half of parents who experienced domestic abuse in their home as a child have reported a partner behaving abusively towards them as adults, according to research.
A third of parents surveyed by the For Baby’s Sake Trust said they had experienced abusive behaviour from a partner, and a fifth (21%) had lived through domestic abuse in their family home as a child.
More than half (54%) of the latter group said they had experienced abusive behaviour from a partner.
The charity surveyed 2,224 parents on February 8 and 9, 57% of whom were female.
It said it is publishing the research to help raise awareness of the scale of domestic abuse among expectant and new parents and to enable them to receive the support they need.
The survey also found that 8% of parents said they had used abusive behaviour towards a partner, rising to 19% of those with domestic abuse in their home when a child.
The most common time for abuse to occur was during pregnancy or in the first two years of the child’s life (40%).
This reflects a long-term trend and more needs to be done to reach parents at this time, the charity added.
Only one in 10 of these parents said they received professional help at the time.
Two fifths (40%) said they did not feel able to seek help, and a third said they did not know where to look for help.
The charity said barriers to getting help include feeling ashamed, worrying about abuse escalating as a consequence, and worrying about what steps local authorities may take in relation to the child.
Amanda McIntyre, chief executive of the For Baby’s Sake Trust, said: “This research really brings home why it is so important we give new parents the support they need to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their babies a better start in life.
“Raising a baby can be an amazing, positive and life-changing experience but it can also be a real challenge, particularly if the parents have had a traumatic childhood or are in an abusive relationship.
“This isn’t inevitable, there is another way and we have a duty to give these parents the support they need to break the cycle of domestic abuse and give their babies the best possible start in life.”
The For Baby’s Sake Trust runs programmes in Hertforshire, London, Cambridgeshire and Blackpool where both parents are supported through pregnancy until the child’s second birthday.
It helps parents deal with any trauma and unaddressed complex needs and helps build parenting skills.