Most parents are very concerned about trying to protect their children from abuse. If you are living with an abusive partner, you are probably doing many things on a daily basis to keep yourself and/or your children as safe as possible. Unfortunately, your abusive partner is making their own decisions about how to behave, and are responsible for their violence. Whether your child is seeing or hearing abuse, or being abused directly, the impact on your child may be the same. 

The decision to use violence and abuse toward a partner when there are children in the home is a form of child abuse and neglect. 

Domestic violence and abuse has serious and often long term consequences for children. You and your children are not alone. In fact the Department of Education identified domestic violence as the most common factor among children deemed to be at risk and on a child in need plan during 2015-2016. Across the South West, Devon was identified as having the highest number of children on a child in need plan due to domestic violence. 

All children living with violence and/or abuse are under stress and at risk of ever- increasing harm to their physical, emotional and social development. The impact can be long lasting and severe. 

This stress may lead to the following 

  • impaired cognitive development
  • irritability and sleep problems in infants
  • poor attachment 
  • aggression and bullying
  • speech problems and difficulties with learning 
  • problems at school and with peers
  • nightmares or sleep difficulties 
  • attention seeking
  • bed wetting
  • blame themselves for the abuse
  • low self esteem and confidence
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • anxiety and depression
  • eating disorders
  • physical ill-health e.g. constant colds, headaches, ulcers, asthma, eczema 
  • undermining of the non-abusive parent-child relationship

Domestic violence and abuse creates a hostile environment for parenting. While like most parents you have tried to protect your children from abuse and any violence happening in the home, this is a struggle to achieve in reality. 

Help for you and your child is available. When domestic violence and abuse stops than the outcomes for children and their relationship (if negatively affected) with their non-abusive parent can and do improve over time.