How does Domestic Abuse affect children and young people?

Each child will respond differently to witnessing/experiencing abuse. Children can witness abuse in many different ways – they may get caught in the middle of it, they may hear the abuse from another room, they may see the physical injuries, or they may be forced to take part. Children can also be directly abused by their parent.

Some of the effects of living with domestic abuse are:

  • Getting anxious or depressed
  • Having difficulty sleeping and experiencing nightmares
  • Physical symptoms such as a tummy ache
  • Wetting the bed
  • Temper tantrums and violent outbursts
  • Problems at school
  • Becoming aggressive or withdrawn
  • Low self esteem or confidence
  • Self harm, drug/alcohol use, eating disorders

Children may also feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened or confused. They may also have confused feelings towards their parents.
Children who witness/experience abuse will not necessarily grow up to be a violent adult. They have a choice and with support they can grow up into a happy, healthy individual.

Young People can also be abused within their own intimate relationships.

Teen abuse is a pattern of controlling behaviour that someone uses against a girlfriend or a boyfriend. The cause of teen abuse is Power and Control. Domestic abuse is a repeated pattern of behaviour. It often includes several different types of abusive behaviour, and may get worse the longer the people are together.

This could include:

  • Constant messaging/threatening messages
  • Having a timescale in which to respond to texts/phone calls
  • Online stalking
  • Threatening to or sharing pictures
  • Physical abuse – Hitting, pushing, kicking, pinching, biting, strangling, gagging, throwing things, burning, spitting, being hurt with objects or weapons.
  • Sexual abuse – Unwanted touching, having sex when you don’t want to, Unfaithfulness, exploitation, what clothes you wear, revenge porn
  • Emotional abuse – Threats, constant fear, humiliation, harassment, shouting/swearing, blaming, name calling/Criticism, stalking, Isolation