How does domestic violence impact children?
Children who experience violence or other forms of abuse against one parent by the other parent or step-parent are almost always harmed by it, even when they don’t actually see the abuse. As a result of the abuse, children can experience health problems, depression, anxiety, fear, guilt, worry for the future, problems with being aggressive towards other children and their own family members, difficulty concentrating and learning, challenges developing friendships and many other forms of harm.
Children who experience domestic violence can heal. They need protection from violence, support from loving adults who listen to them and believe them, a predictable and safe routine, a chance to learn that domestic violence isn’t normal, and a chance to talk openly about what happened.
DVHopeline advocates can help you learn how to talk to your kids about what they have experienced and how to support their healing and resilience.
For more information about the impacts of domestic violence on children:
How Does Domestic Violence Affect Teens Specifically?
Teens may experience domestic violence in their own families, or from their dating or intimate partner. Both of these forms of violence can be devastating to young people.
Teens who experience violence in their homes: may have trouble with learning and with social relationships, may experience depression, anxiety, and problems with self-esteem. They are at greater risk for substance abuse and self-harming behaviors than other young people. They may also believe that using violence and intimidation is an acceptable way to solve problems.
Teens who experience violence from their dating partner: often find it difficult to ask for help and support. If you are in an abusive dating relationship, free, confidential help is available. You don’t have to tell the adults in your own life that you are seeking help, in order to get help. Contact the DVHopeline for more information, or go to our Resources page.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in the US:
- Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 14 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year.
- About 1 in 8 female and 1 in 26 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year.
- 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.
Unhealthy, abusive, or violent relationships can have short-and long-term negative effects. Young people who are victims of teen dating violence are more likely to:
- Experience symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Engage in unhealthy behaviors, like using tobacco, drugs, and alcohol
- Exhibit antisocial behaviors, like lying, theft, bullying, or hitting
- Harm themselves, and consider suicide
Teens who experience domestic violence can be helped by adults and peers who listen to them, care about them, and let them know there are support and counseling options available. Teens also need information about healthy versus unhealthy relationships. It can help teens to see positive and respectful relationships in couples who they are close to, and to get involved in activities that they enjoy and that strengthen their self-esteem.