Children And Domestic Violence
For adults who suffer through episodes of domestic violence, the harrowing effects are indisputable. But the harm certainly does not end there. There is no debate on this topic; domestic violence has a negative effect on children, with outcomes ranging from low self-esteem to PTSD, sleep disorders, and eating disorders.
The indisputable facts are laid out in numerous studies that document the anguish of the youngest victims of domestic violence:
- Social and emotional: Children who witness violence at home often show more aggression and disobedience, which goes hand in hand with their depression and anxiety. They often respond to challenging situations with frustration and hostility; sometimes they simply withdraw and stop trying to solve problems or build relationships. They frequently have strained connections with their siblings, peers, teachers and others. Adding to their burden is often the “requirement” to keep family activities secret.
- Infant attachment: Infants in violent settings sometimes cannot attach to caregivers. In the most severe situations, they may develop a failure to thrive.
- Cognitive: Cognitive functioning and performance in school may be delayed for children who witness domestic violence.
- Attitude and social skills: Children often have limited conflict resolution abilities, and frequently believe in strict gender stereotypes.
- Long-term: Growing up with violence teaches children to accept it, in addition to the anxiety and depression that accompanies it. Many kids grow up to become exert violence in their own teenage and adult lives, or to believe they are deserving of it.
The Physical Violence Kids Suffer
The statistics are pretty startling: in four out of ten cases where children were killed or critically injured, domestic violence was occurring in the home. How did the violence seep from intimate partners/parents to the kids? Sometimes, the harm was fully intentional, as perpetrators deliberately sought out children for emotional, sexual, or physical abuse through manipulation, coercion, and out-and-out violence. In other situations, children were innocent victims caught up in the violence as they tried to protect a beloved adult. Finally, there have been circumstances where children were harmed as violence exploded around them and they were simply collateral damage.
You—and the Kids—Deserve Safety
Victims of domestic violence do not want or deserve the life they have—but many feel trapped in it. It is so important to find a safe space, call the police, and get the help needed in terms of shelter, counseling, and legal alternatives. There are many resources available to you—reach out!
We Can Help
At the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, our experienced Baltimore protective order attorneys are prepared to connect you with the assistance that can keep you safe while working on the legal procedures you need to give you peace of mind. Contact our office for a confidential consultation today.