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What impact does domestic abuse have on a child?

What impact does domestic abuse have on a child?

This is often a question asked by victims of domestic abuse.

Sometimes is it hard as a parent to put yourself first? So you look to the children you wish to protect. You try to see the damage that is being done to them.

It’s natural as a parent to do this.

1 in 5 children in the UK has been exposed to domestic abuse(1).

But what impact does it have on these children?

Every child is different.

Exposure to domestic abuse can affect a child’s mental health. The NSPCC says on their website that witnessing domestic abuse is a form of child abuse.

Short and long terms cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects can be shown by children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Some children may be more resilient and not experience any negative effects.

But, just because they don’t show any signs doesn’t mean they have not been affected. Also, you may not notice the signs as that of being exposed to domestic abuse.

9 Signs to look out for with children who have experienced domestic abuse:

  1. Difficulty sleeping
  2. Bedwetting
  3. Nightmares and flashbacks
  4. Withdrawn
  5. Complaining of stomach ache
  6. Temper tantrums
  7. Aggression
  8. Substance misuse
  9. Anxiety and depression

This list is not exhaustive. It also does not mean that your child’s behaviour is due to witnessing domestic abuse.

Samantha Lee, head of Family Law at Swain & Co Solicitors says:

“I think what the important thing to remember is that there is support for both yourself and your child or children. Counselling together and separately can be very valuable for your family.”

“Often we are in contact with people experiencing domestic abuse when they are not sure where to turn. I speak to them to help provide them with options so they can move at their pace, ensuring they are informed. Take back a bit of control.”

It is important to remember that there is no obligation or pressure from family law solicitors to do anything. Just support when you need it the most. Assistance - if and when you are ready.

Initial advice is free and legal aid assistance may be available to you too. So ensure you are well informed and know your options.

Use our enquiry form and tell us when to call you back to ensure your partner is not around.

[1] Radford, L. et al. (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC.

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