How does domestic violence affect children?


Children who witness violence in the home are more likely to become victims of abuse themselves. Many children will try to protect the parent, and may become a victim of violence themselves. Repeated exposure to violence in the home can cause children to exhibit aggressive and violent behavior in interacting with siblings, peers and parents. This seems to be particularly true of boys. Girls tend to be over mature, passive and withdrawn and may adopt a victimized attitude. Children can also experience night terrors, stomachaches, headaches, depression or high levels of anxiety. Children may not know how to relax, wondering what comment or action will trigger hostility from the abuser. In extreme cases, they are a risk for suicide. Children repeat in society what they learn within the family. In a nurturing environment this has a positive impact, but in a home where violence is present it may have a tragic repercussions. Many communities have programs to help the entire family learn to communicate and solve problems without violence. Most communities have shelters with support services for victims and their children. Call a child safety program in your area for more information.

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