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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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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.
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