Children who have a parent who is or was abused have a higher risk of being abused themselves. Even if the abuser is not directly violent to the children, children may be seriously affected by seeing or hearing their parent being hurt. Children will pick up on tension, stress and fear from a young age, even when they don’t understand what is going on. Brain development is affected by good experiences and equally by poor quality experiences.
A child in a violent family home may:
suffer from poor brain development
feel afraid for themselves, their family, or their pets
act younger than they are
have behaviour problems, bully others or hurt animals
blame themselves for what is happening or try to be very good so they don’t ‘cause’ more violence
have problems with:
self-esteem, and making friends and trusting people
alcohol or drugs
be clingy, sad or depressed, hard to cope with, or sick a lot
become violent and abusive as an adult, or become involved with an abusive partner.
Children need to know that violence is not okay and not their fault. Children have the right to be safe, to be cared for, and to be shown and told they are loved. They need to know they can talk about their feelings and worries.
Adults have the right to feel safe in their relationships. Violent people need to be responsible for their actions and learn different ways to act.
If your partner is abusive, it’s not your fault. Most people who are being hurt want the violence to stop, but don’t know what to do.
There are many reasons family violence is kept secret from others:
They are afraid that no one will believe their story.
They think that things will be worse for them if they tell someone what happens in their family.
They may be ashamed
They may be worried about being blamed for the violence.
Violence in families can be hidden for a long time, because it happens when other people aren’t there. People who are violent to their family can be kind and friendly to other people.
There are no excuses for violent behaviour.