Domestic Violence: Effects on Children, Parents, and Families

If you’re experiencing domestic violence and you’re a parent, it hurts you and your children in many ways, it might also affect the relationship that you have with your children. It can affect your ability to give your children the love and attention they need. It can also affect your ability to be the parent you want to be. But you and your children can recover from domestic violence, so don’t be afraid to seek help.

How domestic violence between parents affects children and parents?

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, it can hurt you in many ways – emotionally, physically, mentally, sexually, socially and more. If this is your situation, it’s important to know that domestic violence is never your fault. The perpetrator of domestic violence is responsible for it and the way it affects your family.

Domestic violence can harm your ability to parent and your relationship with your children in several ways. This can happen if the perpetrator uses emotional abuse to undermine your relationship with your children. For example, the perpetrator might:

  • prevent you from spending quality time with your children
  • say nasty things about you to your children to turn them against you
  • force your children to call you names.

Domestic violence might also affect your mental health. It’s pretty common for victims to experience stress, depression, sleep problems, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and self-medication with alcohol or other drugs. It can be harder for you to deal with the challenges of parenting if you’re having mental health issues like these. For example, it might be really hard for you to:

  • be patient and understanding with your children
  • manage the day-to-day care of younger children like feeding, bathing, and play
  • use positive behavior strategies to guide your children’s behavior find the interest and energy to
  • tune in to your children and their needs.

Domestic violence in the form of physical abuse can cause injuries that make it difficult for you to care for your children’s everyday needs. For example, if you have a broken bone or other serious injuries, you might not be able to do things like changing nappies, bathing, or cooking meals for your children.

If you’re experiencing domestic violence, it might affect your ability to look after your children’s needs in the way you want to. But being a victim of domestic violence doesn’t make you a bad parent.

How domestic violence between parents affects children?

Domestic violence between parents is traumatic for children. Children often know that family violence is going on between parents, even if they don’t hear it, see it or experience it directly, they’re still affected by it. For example, just knowing that your partner is hurting you is distressing and traumatic for children.

Also, seeing the effects of violence is traumatic for your children. For example, children can be deeply affected by:

  • going to the doctor or hospital with a parent after the parent has been abused
  • helping or caring for a parent after the parent has been abused.


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