Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters Logo
Need Help? 

24 Hour Crisis Line

National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
TTY: 1-800-787-3224

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Barriers to Leaving
Domestic Violence
Effects on Children
The Laws
Parenting Time
Sexual Assault
Violence Statistics
Warning Signs
Back to Education

Children of Domestic Violence

Abusive behavior is learned. Children who growup in a violent environment carry this behavior and belief system into future relationships. Children are always at risk as potential victims of domestic violence to which battered persons are subjected, and many children remain atrisk to perpetuate the violence because family violence is repetitious.

Some effects on children include:

  • speech problems
  • truancy
  • anxiety and/or depression
  • violence
  • social withdrawal
  • alcohol/drug abuse
  • poor academic performance
  • nervous disorders
  • suicide

*Nearly 1/3 of all children who witness battering demonstrate significant behavioral and emotional problems.



Effects On Kids

Efforts to protect children from abuse and neglect often overlook one of the most important factors affecting children's safety in the home - adult domestic violence. Child abuse and domestic violence often occur in the same family and are linked in a number of important ways that have serious consequences for the safety of children. First, domestic violence often directly results in physical injury and/or psychological harm to children. Second, even when domestic violence does not result in direct physical injury to the child, it can interfere with both the mother's and the father's parenting to such a degree that the children may be neglected. Third, while an intervention into child abuse may be initially effective, the impact of that intervention will soon be sabotaged if domestic violence is also present, andif the perpetrator is not held accountable for stopping the violence and the adult victim is not protected.

Children can be injured as a direct result of domestic violence. Batterers sometimes intentionally injure children in an effort to intimidate and control their adult partners. These assaults can include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of the children. Children arealso injured - either intentionally or accidentally - during attacks on their mothers. An object thrown or a weapon used against the mother may hit her child. Assaults on younger children may occur while the mother is holding the child. Injuries to older children often occur when an adolescent attempts to intervene in violent episodes.

Although many parents believe that they can hide domestic violence from their children, children living in these homes report differently. Research suggests that between 80 and 90 percent of these children are aware of the violence. Even if they do not see a beating, they hear the screams and see the bruises, broken bones, and abrasions sustained by their mothers.

Children of all ages are deeply affected by domestic violence. Infants exposed to violence may not develop the attachments to their caretakers which are critical to their development; in extreme cases they may suffer from "failure to thrive". Preschool children inviolent homes may regress developmentally and suffer sleep disturbances,including nightmares. School-age children who witness violence exhibit a range of problem behaviors including depression, anxiety, and violence towards peers. Adolescents who have grown up in violent homes are at risk for recreating the abusive relationships they have seen.

There is growing evidence that domestic violence can have lasting negative consequences. As these child-witnesses to domestic violence grow up, they are at greater risk for abusing alcohol or other drugs and for committing violent crimes of all types, eventually getting involved with the criminal justice system.

906 E. Ludington Ave., Ludington, MI 49431
Office 231-843-2541
Web Site provided by: Kaigin Development, LLC 
Click here to Exit