For too many households, debt repayments and creditor demands spiral into unmanageable situations that can devastate lives. Despite millions of children living in families with problem debt, very little research has explored the impact it has on them. 

The Debt Trap: Exposing the impact of problem debt on children, our joint report with StepChange, lifts the lid on the devastating impact debt can have on children.

Combining a survey of 2000 families with children, and in-depth interviews with 14 families in problem debt, the report reveals:

  • 2.4 million children live in families with problem debt
  • Families with children are behind with payments of £4.8 billion
  • A further 5 million children are in families that are struggling to keep up

Read The Debt Trap: Exposing the impact of problem debt on children.

Get involved in our campaign to expose the impact of problem debt on children.

Two parents and three children standing in front of their houseThe impact

Debt has wide-ranging impacts on children’s lives, including:

  • Bullying - Children in families with problem debt are more than twice as likely to be unhappy at school and be bullied because they don’t have the same things as their friends.
  • Worry - More than half of children (58%) in families with problem debt say they worry about their family’s financial situation
  • Family – Around half of children in families with problem debt (47%) say it causes arguments in the family. 
  • Going without - Nine out of ten families in problem debt say they have had to cut back on essentials like food, clothing or heating for their children in order to keep up repayments. 
  • Early exposure to debt - More than half of children aged 10 to 17 said they saw advertising for loans ‘often’ or ‘all of the time’. But only one in five children said that their school had taught them about money management and debt. 

To find recommendations and more, read The Debt Trap: Exposing the impact of problem debt on children.

Get involved in The Debt Trap, our campaign to expose the impact of problem debt on children.