Most people would agree that experiencing violence has an impact on a person beyond the physical wounds. What many fail to recognize, including victims themselves, is the emotional impact long after the abuse has ended, both to the victim and the children who witness it.
Over the past 10 years or so there has been a significant amount of research done to identify the impact on children who live in a home where there is domestic violence. Acknowledging the tremendous impact on children is difficult. But it is necessary. We, as a society, need to stop telling ourselves this is a family issue, or it’s not my place to get involved. These children become friends of your children, maybe even a husband or wife to your child. The impact goes far beyond the immediate family that is experiencing domestic violence.
The following is a list of symptoms that are attributed to experiencing and/or witnessing domestic violence. There is hope. With appropriate help/resources, both children and adults can work through the impact of domestic violence.
Impact on victim:
-post-traumatic stress disorder
-continuation of unhealthy relationships
-physical complaints: gastrointestinal, muscle aches, headaches, gynecological problems
Impact on children who witness (seeing or hearing) abuse:
-impairment of brain development in infants and small children
-problems with language development
-problems with toilet training
-fear of being alone
-inability to concentrate/focus
-problems with school work
-poor impulse control
-difficulty resolving conflict
-psychosomatic illnesses (stomach aches, headaches)
-indiscriminate, quickly formed attachments to unfamiliar adults
-confusion regarding parental loyalties
-more likely to become involved in violent relationship