Children and young people

All children are impacted when they live in a home where there is domestic abuse/violence. The impact will vary from child to child and be dependent on the extent of the abuse, the length of time it goes on for and the age of the child. The younger the child when the abuse starts the longer lasting the impact.

People often say that the children were in bed or not in the house and therefore they do not know it has happened. Even if they are asleep or away they will see the after effects, feel the tension and instinctively know that something has happened. It is frightening, confusing and upsetting for them. Some will learn that abusive behaviour is normal and then go on to be abusive themselves or be in an abusive relationship. There is a strong link between growing up in a home where there is abuse and substance misuse, mental health and poor life chances in teenage and adulthood.

If Children's Social Care become involved they will NOT remove the child from the parents unless the child is at significant risk of further harm. Instead they will work with the parents to keep the child safe.

Effects on children:

  • Fear, low self-esteem, anger, distrust and anxiety
  • Bed wetting, nightmares and sleep deprivation
  • Being bullied or becoming bullies
  • Being physically hurt
  • Feels isolated and withdraws
  • Self harms, misuses drugs and alcohol
  • Emotionally torn between their parents
  • Does poorly at school, cannot concentrate or is disruptive
  • Depression and eating disorders

If this is happening in your family or to you:

Remember you are not alone and it is not your fault. Many families live with domestic abuse and you can get help and support. Speak to someone you trust, like a family member or a teacher. You can contact Childline or look on websites for children and young people; you will find them in the support services section. It is important to keep yourself safe if an argument starts; find a safe place to go or call someone you trust or the Police. If your girlfriend or boyfriend is being abusive then speak to someone; it is not normal or acceptable in a relationship and everyone has the right to be happy and live without abuse.