Skip to main content

Impact on Children of Domestic Violence



  • Fear powerlessness, anger, depression, sadness, impaired social relationships
  • There is negative impact on family relationships, with extended family, and their relationship with their mother and father
  • Effects educational achievement, it is often impaired
  • Behaviour problems some children display anger while others withdraw. (McGee 2005)

 Harm to Children from Domestic Abuse

  • Overlap - child is also abused and neglected
  • Child homicides
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Witnessing domestic violence
  • Child drawn into domestic violence (relaying threats, battery through the law, contact issues)
  • Child intervenes to protect
  • Child feels responsible
  • Living with the impact of domestic violence - peace at home, mother's fears, child's emotional and developmental well being
  • Mother's health undermined
  • Child as a carer

Examples of the effects on children

Physical effects

  • Bruising
  • Broken bones
  • Burns or stab wounds
  • Death
  • Neurological complications
  • Tiredness and sleep disturbance
  • General poor health
  • Stress-related illness (asthma, bronchitis or skin conditions)
  • Enuresis or encopresis
  • Running away leading to potential homelessness
  • Eating difficulties
  • Damage following self harm
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Gynaecological problems
  • Self-harm
  • Difficulty in making and sustaining friendships
  • Damage to the unborn child in pregnancy

Psychological/behavioural effects

  • Fear, panic, guilt and anxiety
  • Depression / poor mental health
  • Introversion or withdrawal
  • Thoughts of suicide or running away
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anger, aggressive behaviour and delinquency
  • Substance misuse
  • Loss of self confidence
  • Assumes a parental role
  • Hyperactivity
  • Tension
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sexual problems or sexual precocity
  • Suicide
  • Eating disorders
  • Truancy and other difficulties at school

Trix procedures

Only valid for 48hrs