Domestic violence and children

A lot of research has been done that shows the negative effects of living in a home where domestic violence occurs on children.  Children are deeply affected by being exposed to abuse, even when we have done our absolute utmost to protect them.  They may:

  • Have delayed development, such as speech and social engagement.  In extreme cases they may not talk or smile at all.
  • Appear angry, and have temper outbursts.  They might mimic the abuser’s behaviour; swearing, screaming and hitting
  • Be more afraid than other children to leave their mothers, becoming highly distressed when apart
  • Deliberately get into trouble at school so that they are suspended and can be at home making sure everything is alright
  • Still wet the bed at night
  • Experience night terrors

Children are like a sponge – what they hear and see is what they soak up.  People often worry a lot about their children, fearing that removing them from the other parent is going to damage the child.  They also worry about taking them away from their familiar home and environment.  However protecting children from violence is probably the best thing we can do for them.  The good news is that children who are given a safe, nurturing and supportive environment can start to heal from the traumatic effects of abuse, just like adults.

Our workers can help you figure out what is best for your children, and can spend time with them to assess their individual needs.  And once you feel safe and secure as well, you may be surprised what a positive change this makes in your relationship with your children.