Children and Domestic Violence
“Families under stress produce children under stress. Children under stress who do not receive help become adults under stress.” – Robert Ackerman
When we talk about domestic violence at all, we tend to talk about it in terms of adult relationships—of spouses, of partners, of women and men. We too often overlook the effects—short- and long-term—that domestic violence has on children:
- 1 in 15 children are exposed to domestic violence every year. 90 percent of these children are eyewitnesses to the abuse.
- 40 percent of child abuse victims also report being exposed to domestic violence.
- In 2013, most victim callers to Chicago’s Domestic Violence Help Line reported having children in their home.
- Children who experience domestic violence are 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity.
Children are constantly absorbing and learning from their environment, and study after study has shown that the behavior that children are exposed to at home is deeply influential to their own behavior and life choices. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to develop social, emotional, psychological and behavioral problems, and more likely to exhibit anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and rage.
There are many types of outward indicators in children exposed to domestic violence:
Physical: headaches and stomachaches, fatigue and lethargy, increased frequency of illness
Behavioral: nervousness, anxiety, short attention span, self-abuse, poor personal hygiene.
Developmental: emotional regression, high-risk play, engagement in exploitative relationships as perpetrator or victim.
Children and childhood are the quiet victims of an epidemic that is already plagued by too much silence. Learn to recognize the effects and signs of domestic abuse, and Join Chicago says No More in speaking out.