The impact of exposure to abuse on children
The damage caused by exposure to domestic abuse in the home can be varied, but research tells us the impact on children can be extensive and long-lasting. In addition to the potential physical, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive ramifications, children who have been exposed to domestic violence often develop destructive beliefs about the use of violence and power in relationships.
Exposure to domestic violence has also been associated with poor performance in school. Children may experience difficulty concentrating and completing assignments, and score lower in the areas of verbal, motor, and social skills.
Children may also develop the misconceptions that violence and exerting control over others are acceptable ways to deal with stress, or that violence is linked to intimacy and affection. These lessons can negatively impact children in social settings and relationships throughout youth and in adulthood later in life.
Children’s immediate reactions to domestic violence may include:
- General Anxiety
- Nightmares/Difficulty Sleeping
- Difficulty Concentrating
- High Activity Levels (Could present as Hyperactivity)
- Increased Aggression
- Separation Anxiety
- Intense Apprehension Personal Safety/Safety of a Parent
Long-term effects, especially from continued exposure to domestic violence, may include:
- Physical Health Problems
- Adolescent Behavioral Issues (e.g., juvenile delinquency, alcohol, substance abuse)
- Emotional Difficulties in Adulthood (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD)
If you are concerned about a child being exposed to domestic violence, please call our 24-hour hotline at 208.343.7025.