Domestic Violence and Children

The effects of Domestic Violence on children vary but we have seen similarities in the way children who witness domestic violence behave.  Domestic Violence are a form of child abuse.  By abusing you, your partner is not being “good to the kids.”  Showing attention or affection to the children cannot make up for denying them their right to a safe and happy childhood.

Approximately 90% of children are aware of the violence in their home.  Common indicators that violence is impacting children:

  • Somatic Complaints – headache, stomach problems, asthma, ulcers, diarrhea.
  • Sleeping Difficulties – insomnia, sleepwalking, bed wetting, nightmares, negative behavior around bedtime.
  • School Problems – erratic attendance, poor performance, school phobia, distractibility, problem behaviors.
  • Developmental Delays – speech, motor skills, cognitive maturation, social interaction skills.
  • Pseudo Maturation – child takes on or is given responsibilities beyond appropriate age/developmental state.
  • 5 million per year witness a violent assault against a parent.
  • 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.
  • Perpetuation of violence over generations – children learn behavior from their parents.  When there is violence in the home, children are at a high risk of repeating those patterns—they grow up to be violent and to accept violence as normal in their relationships.
    child witness fight_SM
  • Low Self-Esteem – having a chaotic home life, one in which one parent physically abuses the other and where there is constant fighting, is very detrimental to children’s self-esteem.  Children may feel responsible and blame themselves for the family’s problems.
  • Shame and Isolation – children from families where domestic violence occurs are rarely able to tell anyone what is going on at home.  They feel embarrassed and ashamed.  They may find it difficult to bring friends home for fear of what may happen. This fear increases the isolation the family may already be experiencing.
  • Child Abuse – in approximately half the families experiencing domestic violence, there is physical child abuse.  Batterers often present as good parents in public.

The Alliance offers a Youth Program that focuses on children’s advocacy, development, rights and needs with a mentorship approach through recreation, art, and community exploration. Contact us to learn more.

The Alliance Youth Services

  • We have a full time youth victim advocate that works with children, youth, and families who are experiencing violence.
  • Weekly youth support groups in our Salida office every Wednesday 5:30pm – 7:00pm.
  • Individual Child/Advocate meetings
  • Dating Violence Prevention Education

 Youth Program Goals

AADA also offers counseling programs for children.
The Alliance also offers counseling programs for children.
  • To offer a safe place for children to come and express themselves.
  • To offer outlets of creativity and choice.
  • To build self-esteem, communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills.
  • To provide positive adult role-modeling.
  • To break the cycle of violence.
  • To empower children through respect, open communication and support.
  • To offer appropriate ways to express feelings and opportunities to identify emotions.

If you are interesting in hosting an Alliance presentation on Healthy Relationships, Domestic and Dating Violence, and/or a related topic for your school, organization or business, please contact us.

children holding hands