Skip to content

Mental Health Center

Font Size

Domestic Violence - How It Affects Children

When there's violence in the home, children are always affected, even if they're asleep or not in the room when the abuse happens. The longer you live in a violent situation, the harder it will be for your children.

When abuse happens, your children may feel scared and ashamed, or they may even think that they caused the problem. Worse, they can grow up thinking that it's okay to hurt others or let other people hurt them.

Abuse also affects:

  • Your children's health. Children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs are more likely to have depression, anxiety, poor school performance, behavior problems, trouble sleeping, or chronic health problems.
  • Your children's safety. Men who abuse their wives also often hurt their children. Violence or the threat of violence toward a victim's children is often used to control an abused woman. In 30% to 60% of these violent homes, the children are also abused.1
  • Teen drug and alcohol use. Both teen boys and girls who witness abuse are at increased risk for depression, drug and alcohol use, and behavior problems.
  • Suicide. Teen girls who witness abuse at home attempt suicide more often.6
  • Future abuse. Children who see one partner hurting or threatening the other are more likely to be in abusive relationships themselves when they grow up, either as victims or abusers.7

Asking for help is hard. But it's important for you and your children that you get the support you need. You and your children deserve to be safe. When you leave an abusive relationship, you show by example that violence is wrong and that it's possible to make healthy choices.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 08, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    contemplation
    Differences between feeling depressed or feeling blue.
    lunar eclipse
    Signs of mania and depression.
     
    man screaming
    Causes, symptoms, and therapies.
    woman looking into fridge
    When food controls you.
     
    Woman standing in grass field barefoot, wind blowi
    Article
    senior man eating a cake
    Article
     
    Phobias
    Slideshow
    woman reading medicine warnings
    Article
     
    depressed young woman
    Article
    thumbnail_tired_woman_yawning
    Article
     
    veteran
    Article
    overturned shot glass
    Article
     

    WebMD Special Sections