Domestic abuse and children.

Domestic violence has a devastating impact on children and young people that can last into adulthood. That is why I created this page and the group. The aim is to break the cycle of domestic violence inshallah.

Are the effects the same for every child?

Children can experience both short and long term cognitive, behavioural and emotional effects as a result of witnessing domestic abuse. Each child will respond differently to trauma and some may be resilient and not exhibit any negative effects.

Children are individuals and may respond to witnessing abuse in different ways. These are some of the effects described in a briefing by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2004):

They may become anxious or depressed.
They may have difficulty sleeping
They have nightmares or flashbacks
They can be easily startled
They may complain of physical symptoms such as tummy aches and may start to wet their bed
They may have temper tantrums and problems with school
They may behave as though they are much younger than they are
They may become aggressive or they may internalise their distress and withdraw from other people
They may have a lowered sense of self-worth.
Older children may begin to play truant, start to use alcohol or drugs, begin to self-harm by taking overdoses or cutting themselves or have an eating disorder

Children may also feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless or confused. They may have ambivalent feelings towards both the abuser and the non-abusing parent.

Do children grow up to be abusers and/or victims?

The “cycle of violence” otherwise known as the “intergenerational theory” is often referred to when considering the effects of domestic abuse on children; however research findings are inconsistent, and there is no automatic cause and effect

A boy who has witnessed domestic abuse does not have to grow up to be an abuser and a girl does not have to become a victim of domestic abuse later in life inshallah. The children can receive therapy to address the abuse they witnessed inshallah.

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