Battered Persons Advocacy

Consequences for Children

Definition of Family/Domestic Violence:

“a pattern of purposeful behavior, including physical, sexual, psychological attacks and

economic control, directed at achieving compliance from or control over an intimate partner”

This includes everyone: children, teens, adults and elders.


50%  batterers also abuse their children. The remaining 50% of the children, who are not direct targets of that batterer have the same psychological impact as those that are direct targets.  This means that 100% of children residing in violent homes are impacted by the violence they are seeing, hearing and living with.

Domestic violence in the home is also the ONLY actual predictive factor for child abuse.  Domestic violence is a stronger factor predicting child abuse than substance abuse, economic pressure or other risk factors related to child abuse.

Harm occurs to children living in violent homes.

Children of violent homes often display impact in several functioning areas: behavioral, emotional, social, cognitive and physical.  This is not an exhaustive list.

Behavioral consequences may include:

  • Aggression
  • Tantrums
  • Acting out
  • Immaturity
  • Truancy
  • Delinquency

Emotional consequences may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anger

Physical consequences may include:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Sleeplessness
  • Regressive behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Poor motor skills
  • Psychosomatic symptoms

Cognitive consequences may include:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Language lag

Social consequences may include:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Poor social skills
  • Rejection by peers

Direct Effects may include:

  • Harm directed at child
  • Using child as means to control parent victim
  • Physical danger to child
  • Emotional and behavioral problems stemming from attempts to cope with violence
  • Learning of aggressive behavior patterns

Indirect Effects may include:

  • Maternal physical and psychological ill-health resulting from stress of being
  • abused
  • Exposure to paternal anger and irritability
  • Inconsistent or overly harsh parental disciplinary practices

Children are often not just witnesses to a parent’s abuse but may be involved in the incident by:

  • Seeking help
  • Being focus of an argument that led to violence
  • Becoming an alternate target for abuse
How to address safety with your child: 
Stop by or call our office for a child safety plan.  We can also meet with you and your child to develop a child safety plan that addresses how to stay safe when parents are fighting, where to go, who to talk to etc.