When children live in homes where there is physical, emotional or verbal abuse, they suffer tremendously. The violence creates tension, fear, and uncertainty. Children may be injured during fights, they may have emotional damage, and they may begin to rebel in school or in the home. Although they may know that abuse is not “normal,” many children begin to pattern their behaviors after the violence.
Children living with family violence: (According to Advocates Against Family Violence)
- In 50 percent of homes where police respond to domestic violence calls, children are present in the home.
- Half of children are at risk of neglect or physical abuse sometime during their childhood.
- 53 percent of children witnessing abuse acted out aggressively with parents.
- Half of these children acted out aggressively with their peers.
- 60 percent of these children acted out aggressively with their siblings.
Children of domestic violence face:
Child abuse: Many children who live in homes where there is domestic violence are also abused. Child abuse doesn’t just mean being hit. It also includes being pushed, spanked so hard that welts or bruises are left, being slapped, pulled, kicked, verbally abused, and more.
Psychological abuse: Abuse affects every child differently. Some children become withdrawn and others more outgoing. Many children begin to act out in school, against their parents and their siblings. Some become aggressive and try to physically harm others, while others are verbally aggressive. Although the psychological effects vary, we know that one way or another, children suffer.
Children in homes where there is violence may feel and experience:
- Separation anxiety
- Lack of control
- Sleep difficulty
- Conflicting loyalties (who should I chose?)
- Learning disability
- Fear of abandonment
- Lack of interest in feelings and activities
- And more
If you are in a relationship with domestic violence, or if you know someone in a relationship with domestic violence, there is help available. If you know children living in homes where there is violence, work with the school, church or other community organizations to help them. Leaving an abusive relationship isn’t easy but it can be done with support from people outside of your home.