Division of Educational & Child Psychology

This blog is written by Educational Psychologists of the Division of the Educational and Child Psychology of the British Psychological Society. 

Our blog is for anyone interested in current issues in educational psychology and/ or the role of educational psychologists. 

Editorial policy

Thew views of the authors are their own. 

How to cite our blog

If you wish to cite our articles the following format is recommended: 

Traxson, D. (2018). Challenging the apparent saddening relentless rise of depression in our young people in Britain today, DECP BPS Blog


16th January 2018


If you would like to submit a blog for this page please contact the DECP Communication group:

Dr Olympia Palikara

email: [email protected] 


Alison Greenwood

email: [email protected]



Sarah Chestnutt

25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marks the beginning of 16 Days of Action against Domestic Violence. Specially, the campaign aims to highlight the significant impact of domestic violence in our world. It is a call to action for individuals, organisations and governments to eradicate this human rights issue and, aptly, ends on Human Rights Day. The campaign is important in raising awareness about gender-based violence, yet it is also essential to remember than men are also affected by domestic violence (DV) which occurs regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexuality.

The definitions and research around DV illustrate the nature of this type of abuse where “intimidation and aggression [are] used to exert control and power by one partner over another” (Buchanan, Power, & Verity, 2014, p. 714). Research indicates that 7.5% of women and 4.3% of men in England and Wales experienced DV between 2016-17 (Office for National Statistics, 2017). Consequently, almost one quarter of children, by the time they reach 18 years old, will have experienced domestic violence at some point in their childhood (Bentley et al., 2017). Moreover, nine out of ten children living with DV were in the same room or next room as the abuse (Webster, Coombe, & Stacey, 2002). It is unsurprising then that a myriad of research on the impact of DV on children highlights significant detrimental effects. For the majority of children living with DV there is measurable impact on their social, emotional and mental health (Thompson & Trice-Black, 2012); their learning in school (Harold, Aitken, & Shelton, 2007); how they interact and communicate feelings (Buckley, Holt & Whelan, 2007); and on their physical health (Stanley & Humphreys, 2014). Yet children are not all impacted by DV in the same way, indeed some scored comparably to their non-exposed peers on a number of outcomes (Kitzmann, Gaylord, Holt & Kenny, 2003). Osofsky (2003) suggested difference in experiences may be related to children’s risk and protective factors as well as the interaction with their environment. 

The impact of DV on children’s development is often manifest in educational settings. It is within these educational settings that Educational Psychologists (EPs) mainly work and therefore are well-placed to support families affected by DV. EPs are skilled in listening to and eliciting children’s views and those of the family and school. We have in-depth knowledge about child development and use a range of tools and resources which can highlight the strengths and needs of children and young people. Interventions with individuals or groups of children and parents are well-suited to be designed and delivered by EPs in schools and in the community. Moreover, multiagency working, key to identification of children’s needs and supporting them holistically, is a central part of EP work. Additionally, many more EPs are engaging with research about the impact of DV and what support would be most appropriate to reduce the effects of this abuse (Ellis, 2018). However, the role of EPs in providing such support may at times be viewed with a lack of clarity; perhaps due to a lack of knowledge about DV and how best to support families due to the hidden nature of the issue or believing that other professionals are better placed to provide specialist support (Gallagher, 2014). Yet using our psychological skills and knowledge, alongside research and listening to the views of children and their families, EPs can have a positive impact in supporting individuals who have lived with DV.
If you are experiencing violence from a partner or family member, or you would like to find out more about support available in your area, check out this link: http://www.safelives.org.uk/about-us 


Bentley, H., O’Hagan, O., Brown, A., Vasco, N., Lynch, C., Peppiate, J., ... Letendrie, F. (2017). 
How safe are our children? The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK. United Kingdom: NSPCC. Retrieved from https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/how-saf...

Buchanan, F., Power, C., & Verity, F. (2014). The effects of domestic violence on the formation 
of relationships between women and their babies: ‘I was too busy protecting my baby to attach’. Journal of Family Violence, 29(7), 713–724. doi: 10.1007/s10896-014-9630-5

Buckley, H., Holt, S., & Whelan, S. (2007). Listen to me! Children’s experiences of domestic 
violence. Child Abuse Review, 16(5), 296–310. doi: 10.1002/car.995 

Ellis, G. (2018). Containment and denial: raising awareness of unconscious processes present 
when teachers are working with children and families where there is domestic abuse. Educational Psychology in Practice, 34(4), 412-429.

Gallagher, C. (2014). Educational psychologists’ conceptualisation of domestic violence. 
Educational and Child Psychology, 31(3), 55–63. Retrieved from https://shop.bps.org.uk/publications/educational-child-psychology-vol-31...

Harold, G. T., Aitken, J. J., & Shelton, K. H. (2007). Inter-parental conflict and children’s 
academic attainment: a longitudinal analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48(12), 1223–1232. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01793.x 

Kitzmann, K. M., Gaylord, N. K., Holt, A. R., & Kenny, E. D. (2003). Child witnesses to domestic 
violence: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 339–352. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.71.2.339 

Office for National Statistics. (2017). Domestic abuse in England and Wales: year ending 
March 2017. United Kingdom: Office for National Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bul letins/domesticabuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2017 

Osofsky, J. D. (2003). Prevalence of children’s exposure to domestic violence and child 
maltreatment: Implications for prevention and intervention. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6(3), 161–170. doi: 10.1023/A:1024958332093 

Överlien, C., & Hydén, M. (2009). Children’s Actions when Experiencing Domestic Violence. 
Childhood, 16(4), 479–496. doi: 10.1177/0907568209343757 

Stanley, N., & Humphreys, C. (2014). Multi-agency risk assessment and management for 
children and families experiencing domestic violence. Children and Youth Services Review, 47(1), 78–85. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2014.06.003 

Thompson, E. H., & Trice-Black, S. (2012). School-based group interventions for children 
exposed to domestic violence. Journal of Family Violence, 27(3), 233–241. doi:10.1007/s10896-012-9416-6 

Wed, 28/11/2018 - 11:13

On a mild Saturday in October, Educational Psychologists (EPs), Trainee Educational Psychologists (TEPs) and interested individuals gathered at the BPS offices in London for the inaugural DECP pre-training event. The aim of the day was for prospective doctoral applicants to find out more about the profession of educational psychology, to meet EPs and to connect with others in a similar position. There was an expectant atmosphere with the event selling out within 48 hours indicating the relevance of an event tailored specifically for those hoping to apply for doctoral training in educational psychology.