What Effect Does Domestic Abuse Have on Children?



Unfortunately, many children are exposed to domestic violence and abuse. Children who either witness domestic violence between their parents or experience physical abuse from their parents are at high risk for developing physical and mental health conditions.

Additionally, children who witness violence between their parents have a greater risk of being violent in their own future relationships. If you are a parent who is experiencing abuse or has a child who is being abused, it is essential to seek legal counsel from an injunctions lawyer in Florida. Here is some important information on how domestic abuse affects children.

The Short-term Effects of Domestic Abuse Vary with Age

Children who live in homes where abuse of any kind is taking place are likely to experience anxiety, depression, and fear. It’s common for children to react in different ways to domestic abuse depending on their age:

  • Children under 5: Very young children living in a violent household may start to revert to actions they had outgrown, such as bed-wetting, increased tantrums, and trouble sleeping. They may also begin to participate in behaviors related to separation anxiety.
  • Children in elementary school: Children in this age range have the cognitive abilities to start associating feelings with the abuse they are witnessing. For example, they may start to feel guilt and blame themselves for the violence, which can damage their mental health. This could further manifest in school as resistance to participate in activities or school work.
  • Teenagers: Teenagers experiencing or witnessing domestic abuse may act out by fighting with family members, using alcohol or drugs, or ignoring their school work. Teenagers in these harmful situations are also more likely to start fights or bully their classmates.

These are just a few of the ways the abuse may manifest in your child’s behavior in the short-term.

What Long-term Effects Does Domestic Abuse Have on Children?

It’s hard to believe, but more than 15 million children in America live in households where domestic violence has occurred. Unfortunately, these children are at a greater risk for participating in domestic violence behaviors or entering into abusive relationships in adulthood. Boys who witness the abuse of their mother—whether physical or verbal—are 10 times more likely to repeat this abuse to their partners as adults. Additionally, girls who witness their fathers abusing their mothers are 6 times more likely to experience sexual abuse as an adult than girls who grew up in non-violent households.

Children who are victims of domestic violence are also likely to experience diabetes, obesity, and poor self-esteem. In short, the long-term effects that domestic violence has on children are devastating. If you have a child who has been affected by domestic abuse, some ways you can help them include:

  • Get them professional help. It’s essential for children who have experienced abuse to work with a therapist or other professional counselor. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective for children who have experienced physical or violent abuse.
  • Teach them how to set boundaries. Children who have not witnessed healthy boundaries in their childhood will need to retroactively learn how to set boundaries. They will need to learn that it is not okay for people to touch them in ways that are harmful or make them feel uncomfortable.
  • Seek legal action. It’s important for perpetrators of domestic violence to face legal and criminal repercussions for their actions. Obtaining a restraining order from an abusive partner is one of the best ways you can protect your child.

Call Orlando’s Trusted Criminal Defense and Injunction Attorneys for Assistance with Your Case

Throughout the country, domestic violence is a prevalent problem. If you or your child is experiencing physical abuse, it’s essential to seek legal action. At Fighter Law, our team is dedicated to fighting for our clients who have been victims of domestic violence and abuse. Our excellent legal team has a superb reputation for helping clients obtain restraining orders and remove themselves from harmful situations. Additionally, Attorney Thomas Feiter is Board Certified and one of the leading attorneys for injunctions in Central Florida.

To discuss your situation with one of our skilled attorneys, call today at (407) FIGHTER (344-4837) or fill out our online contact form.

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