|The effects of domestic and family violence are many and varied. The more obvious physical effects can range from bruises and black eyes to broken bones and serious physical injuries, even death. |
The emotional effects are not as obvious as the physical signs, but many women say that while the bruises heal over time, the emotional scars never really leave you. The emotional effects of being abused may include:
- low self-esteem and self-confidence;
- feeling that you in some way deserve or are to blame for the violence and abuse;
- feeling guilt, feelings of self-doubt around your ability as a parent and a partner;
- feeling that no-one else will ever want you;
- feelings of hopelessness and despair;
- feelings of depression and anxiety;
- feeling suicidal;
- feeling totally isolated from friends and family and any other support networks;
- wondering if anyone will believe your story;
- feeling low in energy and unable to make a decision/s.
Some other effects can include:
- Onset of stress related illnesses;
- Eating issues;
- Back pain or abdominal pain,
- Gastrointestinal disorders and/or
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope.
It's not surprising given these effects how difficult most survivors of violence find it to actually leave their relationship! If you are a person reading this who feels all or any of these things, remember that counsellors and support workers can help you to work through these issues and start to feel better and more in control of your life again.
How does Domestic or Family Violence affect my Children?
For children and young people the effects of experiencing domestic or family violence are determined by many factors such as their age, gender, role in the family, frequency and extent of the abuse, special needs of the child and individual resiliency. Domestic and family violence can have a severe detrimental effect on a child's personal development, affecting all areas of their life. Research shows that the effects of living with violence can have short and long term impacts on children and young people. A child living in a domestic violence situation is also significantly more likely to experience physical or sexual abuse and suffer the trauma and effects that result from this. Some of the effects of witnessing domestic or family violence include:
- Poor health and sleeping habits;
- Excessive screaming;
- The child not bonding with the mother;
- Infants can be affected by domestic or family violence from at least six weeks of age.
Toddlers(In addition to the above characteristics)
- Frequent illness;
- Low self-esteem and shyness;
- Social Problems such as hitting or biting;
- Withdrawn, passive, clinging, anxious (most often girls);
- Aggressive behaviour (most often boys).
Pre schoolers(In addition to the above characteristics)
- Complaining of feeling sick;
- Blaming themselves for the violence and feeling guilty;
- Becoming worried and nervous;
- Having difficulty making friends;
- Finding it difficult to trust others.
Primary School Children(In addition to the above characteristics)
- Difficulties with school work and school attendance;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Poor social skills and fighting with peers;
- Rebelling against adult authority;
- Aggression and poor anger management (most often boys);
- Anxiety and withdrawal (most often girls);
- Low self esteem and lack of confidence;
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Adolescents(In addition to the above characteristics)
- Violent delinquency and crime;
- Adolescent boys may model the perpetrator's behaviour by assaulting their mother or siblings.