Domestic abuse can impact upon all areas of children and young people's lives including health, education, the development of relationships, recreation and social activities. The effects of domestic violence on children are wide ranging and will differ for each child or young person. Effects can include:
- Feelings of fear, shame, anger;
- Underachieving (or overachieving) in school;
- Difficulties sleeping and nightmares;
- Distracted behaviour;
- Outbursts of temper and aggression;
- Regressive behaviour such as thumb sucking, bed wetting etc.;
- Reluctance to eat;
- Complaints of tummy pain or pain in other parts of their body;
- Low self esteem and confidence;
- Reluctance to engage in social activities;
- Self harm.
There are a range of resources that can help you to address this issue with your children. The Hideout is a UK website with information, activities, a quiz and stories of children living with domestic abuse. You can also get advice from Women's Aid on how to talk and support your children.
Some things to say to your child:
- It's not your fault;
- You can always tell me how you feel;
- I will listen to you;
- you have the right to feel safe;
- there is nothing you could have done to prevent or change it;
- I care about you, you are important to me;
- We can think of ways to keep you safe in the future.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, please contact Next Link on 0117 925 0680 or phone the police if in immediate danger.