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Domestic Violence and
Child Abuse

Effects of Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Neglect (previous)

    Domestic violence, child abuse and neglect all put children at risk, directly or indirectly, for physical and emotional trauma. Most physical trauma, short of death, will heal in time; however, the emotional trauma may last a lifetime. If children cannot feel safe with at least one caring adult who is consistently available, they are likely to experience difficulty with becoming independent and forming stable, nonviolent relationships in their own lives.

    Violence in the home teaches children to be on guard outside the home. They are more likely to interpret innocent remarks, accidents and normal peer interactions as hostile attacks, and react with fear or be ready to fight at the drop of a hat. Children readily blame themselves for causing adult behavior. It is too scary to believe that there could be something wrong with the people they depend on for their survival. Their limited understanding of adult motivations and their own power leaves them, confused, guilty, fearful, ashamed and angry.

    Children exposed to violence are much more likely to be depressed, have eating or sleep disorders, frequent headaches or stomach aches, and be more susceptible to illnesses. They are commonly behind in their social and academic development since their coping behaviors are more regressive than progressive; more focused on protection than learning (low self-esteem, withdrawn, aggressive, defiant, isolated, anxious, irresponsible). As they grow to be teenagers, they are more likely to be abused or abusive, use drugs and alcohol, skip school, drop out, run away or attempt suicide.

    Since children take cues about the world from the models they see, these children are likely to have very rigid ideas about what it means to be male or female, how a parent treats children, how men treat women, whether the world is mostly safe or mostly dangerous. Those roles of abuser and victim are played out in their relationships as they grow to adulthood.

What is domestic violence? | Who uses violence in relationships?
 How can I recognize domestic violence?
How can I stop domestic violence? | Domestic violence resources
What is child abuse? | What is neglect? | Who is required to report child abuse or neglect?
How can I recognize child abuse or neglect? | Child abuse and neglect resources
Effects of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect on children

Glenna O. Auxier


Robert J. Perchalski, Ph.D.
Curriculum Coordinator

Contact us by email at for.parents@juno.com
Copyright 2003, 2007 Positive Divorce Resolution, Inc.
Last edited June 1, 2013 by Robert J. Perchalski, Ph.D.