You & Your Children
Fear is one of the main effects of violence. Domestic or family violence can leave you feeling fearful for yourself, your children, your family and your friends.
How domestic violence makes you feel
If you are experiencing domestic or family violence you may feel:
- Constantly fearful and anxious, feeling ‘on edge’ or like you’re ‘walking on egg shells’
- Like you have lost belief in yourself and who you are
- Isolated and alone
- Like you are going ‘mad’
- Pain and suffering from physical injuries
- Shamed or embarrassed
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of guilt and self blame
- Exhausted and without energy
- Confused about what real and what’s not
- The effects of violence on women can include:
- Feeling trapped
- The use of drugs and alcohol
- Sleeping problems
- Mental illness
- The use of violence against your children or partner
- Self harm
You DON’T deserve to be treated this way!
There are many excuses that can be used to justify violence and it is important to remember that people CHOOSE to be violent.
The impact of domestic violence on children
Witnessing violence can have as much of an impact on children as being victims themselves. Children who witness violence have more emotional and behavioural problems than other children.
Children are affected through living with abuse by:
- Being denied a safe and supportive family environment for their emotional, social and physical development.
- The witnessing of abuse which children may learn to be an acceptable way of dealing with stress or relationship problems
- Verbal, physical or emotional abuse from the perpetrator.
- Children may be a tool for abuse with the abuser through the encouragement of the child to abuse the mother, or the children being abused as a means of controlling the mother. Children may also be abused when stepping in to protect their mother.
- Short term effects of domestic violence will depend on their age, developmental stage, gender and personality.
Some of the effects you may witness include:
- Feeling responsible for the violence
- Sleep problems and nightmares
- Anxiety and fear
- Feeling depressed, shame or distrust
- Stress related illness e.g. sleeping and eating difficulties, stomach cramps and headaches
- Speech problems
- Cruelty to animals
- Withdrawal from people
- Aggressive language and behaviour
- Destructive behaviours towards their toys etc
- Becoming a bully or finding themselves victims of bullying
- Regression to earlier developmental stages e.g. wetting the bed
- Low self esteem
- Lowered school performance
- Social difficulties with other children
- Mood swings
There can also be many long term effects of domestic violence on children such as drug and alcohol misuse, learning problems, emotional and mental health problems. Children can learn to be desensitized to violence and see it as normal in families. Children can also learn to use violence as a means to resolve problems and as a means to gain control. Children may also use violence, or be victims of violence, in their future intimate relationships having learnt that it is possible and acceptable to love and abuse someone at the same time.
One of the most important things to teach children is that abuse is unacceptable. You can teach your child this by seeking support for the violence and removing your children from the violence and placing them in a safe place. It is also important to role model non-violent problem solving techniques and to tell your children that abusive behaviour is wrong.
Many children feel responsible for the violence therefore it is important to reassure them the violence was not their fault. It is important to encourage children to talk about their experiences and seek professional help such as counselling for all family members.
For more assistance contact:
Child and Family Counselling services: 02 6672 5133 or 07 5506 7540
Parentline: 132 289
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800