Domestic violence can have a lifelong impact on children. Children who have been witness to or involved in domestic violence can often be psychologically traumatised. It’s well known that children need stability within their environment, and when a domestic violence situation takes place, this stability is removed – leading to a child’s development of fear and anxiety regarding the unknown. This hinders their social, emotional and cognitive development.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is any violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour. Children can be affected by domestic violence from one of their parents, but it can also come from any partner, carer or family member. Domestic violence is not just physical violence but could also be humiliating, dominating, controlling or threatening behaviour.
How Does Domestic Violence Impact Children?
Given the individuality of the situation and each child – the impact of domestic violence will be different for each child facing this situation. Domestic violence can harm children in various ways, including:
- Physical harm: Children may be intentionally or unintentionally harmed during a domestic violence situation and the damage can range from minor to life-threatening.
- Emotional trauma: Emotional trauma can impact a child’s ability to trust others because they are unable to regulate their own emotions. This can often lead to conditions such as anxiety, depression or low self-esteem.
- Social and cognitive development: Children may find it difficult to make friends or maintain relationships with others. Domestic violence situations can be all-consuming for children, leaving them too worried to develop fundamental learning skills. At school they may be worried about their need to protect a parent from harm.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Children who have witnessed even a single domestic violence situation may face PTSD. This could include night terrors, living in constant fear and suicidal thoughts. Flashbacks can also frequently take place, with certain triggers reminding them of a domestic violence situation.
How Can You Avoid Domestic Violence Impact on Children?
It’s important to get help as soon as possible. The longer domestic violence situations take place, the more chance there is that it will have negative impacts on children. In Victoria, Safe Steps provides a 24/7 phone line for immediate assistance regarding domestic violence situations.
Following the resolve of domestic family violence, children will need ongoing support by family members and carers to ensure they are able to build up their ability to manage and cope with any stresses that made an impact on them.
At Jenny’s Early Learning Centre, we support all children and families who may need assistance regarding domestic violence. Your child will feel always confident and safe to explore in our care and we are both willing and experienced in supporting victims and their families. Located across the Bendigo area, contact us to book a tour today.