Kids Exposed to Domestic Violence Information
How are Children Exposed to Domestic Violence?
Children are exposed to domestic violence in many ways. They may, for example, hear one parent threaten or verbally abuse the other, see one parent physically assault the other, be used by one parent against the other, or live with the aftermath of a violent assault. Living in the tension between violent incidents or abusive outbursts is also very harmful to a child's mental, emotional and even physical well-being. The stress of fearing the next incident and wondering if it's their fault can impact a child deeply in a variety of ways.1
How are Children Affected by Domestic Violence Exposure?
Children's responses to domestic violence vary. Some children do very well despite their exposure. How your child responds will depend on age, the amount of exposure, the severity of the violence, their coping mechanisms, their social support network, access to services and the responses of their caregivers.2 The table below shows symptoms some parents have noticed:
Links to resources:
- A look at Domestic Violence through the eyes of children.
- FAQs about Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence
- An overview of Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence
- Resources for Service Providers and Community Members
- Youth Radio: A Child's View of Domestic Violence
1"Little Eyes, Little Ears – How Violence Against a Mother Shapes Children as They Grow", Alison Cunningham, Linda Baker. 2007.
2"Children's Witnessing of Adult Domestic Violence", Jeffrey L. Edleson, PhD, University of Minnesota.
3The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, "Ages and Developmental Stages: Symptoms of Exposure".