THE NATIONAL Society Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is calling for the Government to recognise children in Berkshire who live with domestic abuse as victims.

The charity is asking for the Government to legally class the 4,000 children in Berkshire who live with domestic abuse as victims.

The NSPCC has said that if these calls are ignored an opportunity to protect children will be missed.

Almudena Lara, head of Policy at the NSPCC, said: "It is quite astonishing that the Government is dragging its feet when deciding whether to recognise young people as victims.

“Almost a quarter of a million children that we know of are living with domestic abuse in England alone.”

Department for Education figures from 2018 revealed that violence was a factor in nearly 247,000 child protection assessments across England.

In the Wokingham and Bracknell Boroughs 1,095 children are living with domestic abuse, 1,755 in Reading, 212 in Windsor and Maidenhead and 688 in Slough.

Brothers Luke and Ryan Hart are supporting the charity’s call, after their mother and sister were murdered following an incident of domestic abuse.

Ryan said: "Children living with domestic abuse are not just witnesses to the abuse, they are victims themselves.

“Luke and I know first-hand the psychological effects and the emotional effects it can have on you by seeing someone you love being a victim of abuse."

The Government’s new definition of domestic abuse ignores the effect that growing up with abusive households can have on children, the charity claims.

Ms Lara added: "As well as the day-to-day distress that living with domestic abuse creates, it can cause long-term problems into adulthood that can only be addressed through targeted services.”

The charity believes that legally recognising children who live with domestic abuse as victims will give them more protection and help authorities to ensure services are in place to help.

Ms Lara said: “For this to be done effectively we need the Government to open their eyes to the harm domestic abuse has on children and give them victim status in the upcoming White Paper to ensure they receive the services they need.”

The decision will be published in the Government’s Domestic Violence and Abuse White Paper. A consultation closed in May last year, the outcome hasn’t been released.

Adults who are concerned about a child living with domestic abuse are urged to call the NSPCC on: 0808 800 5000.