From loud and aggressive arguing and insults, to severe physical battering and even murder, if there are children in the home, they are almost certainly affected by family violence. Reports from battered mothers show that nearly 90% of children in violent homes witness the abuse.
Experts say that children who are exposed to violence are almost certainly harmed in more than one way. Often, their immediate reaction is fear – for their own safety and for the safety of the parent. Children may blame themselves for the violence, telling themselves, “If we had been good, Daddy wouldn’t have hit Mommy.”
Children who live in violent family situations may learn that violence is an acceptable way to cope with stress or problems, or to gain control over another person. They may learn to fear or distrust close relationships and feel that violence in relationships is normal.
Help is available for both the abuser who wants to stop and for the abused. Families should learn (and practice) nonviolent problem solving.
Call the police if you hear something you believe is domestic violence, child abuse or the abuse of a vulnerable adult.
For more information, call 800-CHILDREN (800-244-5373) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.