Exposure to Domestic Violence and its impact on children has been associated with a variety of problems in their development including:
- crying, anxiety and sadness;
- repressed feelings of fear, anger, guilt and confusion (which can be directed toward either parent or other children);
- depression, suicidal behaviour; nightmares, fears and phobias.
- in younger children and babies eating and sleeping disorders are common.
- develop and suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
- Older siblings may take on the mothering role with their younger siblings from a very young age
- withdrawing into or isolating themselves, restlessness; regressive behaviour (such as baby-talk, wanting bottles or dummies, etc)
- speech problems, difficulty in learning and communicating;
- low self-esteem, fear of making mistakes;
- aggression, bullying, temper tantrums, vandalism, mistreating pets;
- becoming troublesome at home or at school, truancy, lower academic achievements;
- clinginess, fear of being touched or close to someone, lack of trust, inability to form stable relationships;
- eating problems, such as increased or decreased appetite
- self-harming tendencies, e.g. hair pulling, nail biting etc.
- potential alcohol and drug abuse in later life
- “inappropriate bonding” with strangers
- stress-related physical symptoms e.g. bed wetting, restlessness, stomach aches;
- constant colds, headaches, mouth ulcers, asthma, eczema
- weight loss
What happens to children at a young age, can affect them later on in life. Children may grow up to learn that it is OK to resolve conflict with violence, or that violence is a normal part of life. This increases the risk of entering into an abusive relationship in adulthood, either as the perpetrator or victim – continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.