The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Children see, hear, and observe everything that happens in their environment. Therefore, children are always affected by violence in the home, whether they witness it or experience it themselves. Just like adult victims and survivors, children who experience or witness violence or abuse can respond in many different ways. A child's reaction to abuse depends on age, extent of abuse, support the child has received from others and their relationship to the abuser. As a parent, you can support your child by listening and validating their experiences.

Some common reactions for children experiencing or witnessing violence include:

Changes in eating and sleeping

Behavioral changes

Regressing to past behaviors such as bed wetting or thumb sucking  Social and academic changes

Loss of interest in peers, school, and activities

Supporting your child

Some things you can do to support your child:

Reassure them that what happened was not their fault

Maintain a routine at home and school

Promote healing through music, art, journaling, and therapy

Encourage your child to engage in activities that they enjoy

Let the child lead conversations and do not force conversations or ask too many questions

Allow your child to ask questions and freely talk about their experience – keep these conversations to age appropriate levels

There are other signs that a relationship might be unhealthy. If you feel that there is something unhealthy or wrong with the relationship, trust yourself. It is normal for people in unhealthy relationships to feel very unsure about what they want to do. Talking with an advocate is a good first step in figuring out how you feel and what your options might be. CADA's services are free and confidential to all victims and survivors.

How CADA Can Help

CADA has advocates trained specifically to work with children and families. Advocates can help parents to better understand the impacts of violence and abuse and offer strategies and support in connecting with children. To learn more about how CADA advocates can assist children and families, please call and ask to speak with a Child and Family Advocate.