Beacon Center

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801 Jenson SE/PO Box 781
Watertown, SD 57201

Crisis Line: 605-886-4300 / 1-800-660-8014

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Domestic Violence and Children

THE EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN


The following behaviors can often be seen in children who have witnessed or experienced domestic violence.


INFANTS — AGE 3

  • physical problems (frequent colds, diarrhea)

  • excessive screaming and irritability

  • problems falling asleep

  • developmental delays (not gaining weight, not eating)

  • anxiety, sadness, crying, emotional withdrawal


AGES 3 — 7

  • delayed language development

  • regression to infant-like behavior such as thumb sucking

  • difficulty getting along with others

  • hostility and aggression

  • defiant and destructive behavior

  • clinging behavior

  • fear

  • self-blaming and feelings of guilt


AGES 7 — 13

  • low self-esteem

  • conflicted feelings about the abuser

  • increased aggression toward peers, siblings and parents

  • shame (denying the violence at home)

  • delinquent behavior (stealing, fighting, using drugs)


AGES 13 — 18

  • patterns of blaming others for his/her behavior, especially parents

  • high levels of anger and anxiety

  • inappropriate belief that violence can be a response to conflict

  • protective behavior toward the victim

  • violence against the victim

  • sense of responsibility for the care of younger siblings

  • running away

  • patterns of truancy

  • substance abuse problems

  • promiscuous behavior


ADDITIONAL EFFECTS — ALL AGE GROUPS

  • increased emotional needs

  • difficulty adjusting to school

  • school phobias (might fear leaving the victim alone)

  • somatic problems (asthma, peptic ulcers, chronic headaches, abdominal cramps)

  • eating disorders

  • patterns of increased deceptiveness (excessive lying, stealing, cheating)

  • inclination to mutilate or kill animals

  • inability to trust and develop relationships

  • low tolerance for frustration

  • self-destructive behavior, self-mutilation

  • memory of every detail of abuse

  • blames the victim for the abuse, pressures him/her to make things better

  • poor sexual image

  • low self-esteem

  • bed wetting

Source: http://www.cadvny.org/2009/09/14/effects-of-domestic-violence-on-children/