Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

Domestic Violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence, when one person believes they are entitled to control another.

Research suggests that approximately 55% of children in domestic violence homes are being abused.

Effects of exposure on children: Children who witness domestic violence show significantly higher rates on all measures of childhood distress including behavioral and physical health problems such as depression, anxiety, and peer violence.

The effects of batterer behavior are shaped by various factors:

  • Severity and frequency of abusive and/or violent incidents
  • Children’s perception of the threat to their personal safety
  • Children’s perception of their ability to control abusive/violent incidents

Resilience: #1 factor in determining resiliency and healing of children has been found by research to be an attached relationship to a caring adult.

Intervention: There is strong evidence that safety and support can reverse the negative impact of batterer behavior on children.

Repairing the damage to the Mother-Child relationship caused by batterers behavior

  • Assist a battered mother in understanding the dynamics of abuse and the impact on her children
  • Assist a battered mother in understanding the behaviors a child will exhibit as a result of being exposed to a battered
  • Assist with safety planning so children can feel that their mother can now protect them
  • Assist children in understanding their experience and their mother’s experience to help them recover respect for her
  • Acknowledge, recognize and bear witness to each child’s pain and support children in being close to their mother

Promising practices involve…

  • Timely response
  • Safe, therapeutic relationships in the family
  • Developmentally appropriate approaches
  • Multidisciplinary assessment of child and family needs
  • Ongoing advocacy and case management
  • Counseling and other support services for caregivers
  • Stability and social support for households