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Effects of domestic violence on children

There is a strong link between domestic violence and child abuse/neglect. The Department of Health says around 750,000 children a year experience domestic violence. In households where there is domestic violence, about three quarters of it is seen by children. About half of these children are abused themselves. Children in these families have a higher risk of being sexually abused.

Children's Health

Depending on their age some possible effects are:

  • Physical injuries.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Behavioral difficulties.
  • Learning difficulties.
  • Slow speech and language development.
  • Bed-wetting.
  • Nightmares.
  • Not doing so well at school as they should.
  • Not making friends.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Self-harm.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Loss of a parent.
  • Change in their relationship with their mother.
  • Insecurity – they don’t feel safe in their own home.

Child abuse and domestic violence are linked in a number of important ways that have serious consequences for the safety of children. But with effective intervention and a coordinated response to child abuse and domestic violence, battered women advocates, child protective workers, judges and community members can help keep families safer.