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The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Young People

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence can have a profound impact on children. It often directly results in physical injury and/ or psychological harm to children, and even when domestic violence does not result in direct physical harm to children, it can interfere with parenting and has the potential to lead to neglect.

Abusers sometimes intentionally injure children in an effort to intimidate and control their adult partners. These assaults can include physical, emotional and sexual abuse of the children. Children are also injured – either intentionally or accidentally during attacks on their mothers. An object thrown or a weapon used against the mother may hit her child. Assaults on younger children may occur while the mother is holding the child. Injuries to older children often occur when an adolescent attempts it intervene in violent episodes.

Even children growing up in households where attempts are made to ensure that domestic violence is ‘hidden’ from the children research suggests that between 80 to 90 percent of these children are aware of the violence. Even if they do not see the beating, they hear the screams and see the bruises, broken bones, and abrasions sustained by their mothers.

Seeking help

There are organisations that can help victims of domestic violence and their children.  Support can be given to the non-abusing parent which can help overcome the negative effects of domestic violence and improve the parent-child relationship.

If you are worried about the effect of domestic violence on your children you can contact:

  • KMEWO 020 7263 1027 or 07748 851125
  • Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247
  • Police 999, in an emergency

Other organisations that might be able to help children and young people directly are:

  • Childline 0800 1111 calls are free and confidential.
  • The Hideout A website created by Women’s Aid to help children and young people to understand domestic abuse, including tips on how to take positive action.

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