Information for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

Exposure to Domestic Violence, either experienced directly or witnessed between caregivers can have a detrimental effect on children.

Domestic Violence Help Line

Common Signs of CEDV:

  • Acting out, withdrawing
  • Attention seeking behaviors
  • Care taking (taking care of and worrying about the needs of others more than self)
  • Somatic complaints including headaches, stomachaches, asthma
  • Nervousness or anxiety. Having a short attention span, which may seem like "hyperactivity"
  • Regression in developmental tasks including bedwetting, thumb-sucking, clinging behavior
  • Poor conflict resolution skills

Children who Witness Violence in the Home Learn:

  • To blame others for their behavior
  • To believe it is OK to yell, smash things or hit others you care about to get what you want, express anger, or feel powerful
  • Not to trust
  • To feel guilty or responsible for the violence
  • To have conflicted loyalties
  • To be angry about the violence
  • To feel depressed, helpless, powerless

Children Want You To:

  • Try to be patient with them for they hurt too
  • Try to understanding how they are feeling
  • Support them and their feelings
  • Realize that they are real and not invisible
  • Try to LISTEN to them when they need to talk
  • Know that your life has an effect on them
  • Know it is their problem too
  • Talk to them about what is going on
  • Realize that although they are young, they still have feelings
  • Know that they don't want you to "stay for them" if it means getting hurt
  • Know that they really don't want to take sides

What You Can Do:

  • Find a comfortable place to talk
  • Listen
  • Validate feelings
  • Show belief
  • Dispel fault
  • Explore fears
  • Maintain calm
  • Be honest with yourself!