How does domestic abuse affect children?

There are many ways that children can be affected by domestic abuse. How they react will differ completely from child to child even within the same family. Children living in homes where domestic abuse happens often experience more than you think.

They may start to believe it is their fault or that they should be able to stop what is happening.

They may become aggressive or completely withdraw into themselves. Have difficulty relaxing at home and not be able to sleep. They could have nightmares or flashbacks or maybe even start bedwetting again.

All these things will affect how they see themselves and relate to people outside the home. It could change how they are performing and integrating at school and in social situations. It may affect their friendships and make them feel isolated.

When they feel like they have no control over the environment around them they could try and force control into their lives in the form of eating disorders or self-harm. They could start to use drugs or alcohol to take away the pain and confusion they are experiencing.

Children need help and support to come to terms with their feelings about the domestic abuse they have experienced it should never be ignored and brushed under the carpet. Only by talking to them will they know that it is not their fault and that the behavior they have witnessed is not acceptable.

Here is a leaflet with tips for parenting during and after abuse.

There is also a leaflet here with tips on talking to children about domestic violence and abuse.

2 thoughts on “How does domestic abuse affect children?

  1. Social services have known about my ex domestic violence towards me and children did nothing, now saying I fabricated it, despite police intervention and my children’s police reports. We. Were forced to live in this hell otherwise face homelessness.

    • Sorry for your trouble. Not sure if you are male or female but have you considered going into refuge? Contact the helpline for women on 0808 2000 247 or for men on 0808 801 0327.

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