by Tina de Benedictis, Ph.D., Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
www.helpguide.org and www.aaets.org.
What is the effect of domestic violence on children?
Children who witness domestic violence may develop serious emotional, behavioral, developmental, or academic problems. As children, they may become violent themselves, or withdraw. Some act out at home or school; others try to be the perfect child. Children from violent homes may become depressed and have low self-esteem.
As they develop, children and teens who grow up with domestic violence in the household are:
- more likely to use violence at school or in the community in response to perceived threats
- more likely to attempt suicide
- more likely to use drugs
- more likely to commit crimes, especially sexual assault
- more likely to use violence to enhance their reputation and self-esteem
more likely to become abusers in their own relationships later in life