Helping Women and Children break the cycle of domestic violence...

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

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Mothers and Domestic Violence

Family violence hurts kids too...

Family violence is much more than physical abuse. 
It includes

  • emotional abuse (such as manipulation, isolation, put-downs, mind games)
  • financial abuse,
  • sexual abuse,
  • threats of violence and revenge,
  • property damage, smashing belongings,
  • harming pets.
    • Family violence is an abuse of the love, trust, kindness and support a family should provide to its children.
      It’s the “hidden menace” that so many parents and children keep secret from schools, friends, family, doctors and society. They’re ashamed, embarrassed, and often very scared to let anyone know as the abuser may have threatened them with more abuse if they tell anyone. Many children and young people in Australia live in a family where a parent is being abused.

      These children grow up in a climate of fear.  
      Physical, sexual and emotional abuse of the children is much more likely to happen if the parents are in a violent relationship. Children from homes with DV have a much higher percentage of behavioural and emotional problems. They often feel the violence is their fault, or that they’ve failed if they haven’t looked after their mum. The emotional scars can last a lifetime.

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The effects of domestic violence on children can include

  • Feeling powerless, anxious and fearful
  • Feeling depressed and ashamed
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, sleeping and eating disorders, stomach aches
  • Poor school performance, poor development, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, difficulty in relating to friends.
  • Much higher likelihood of alcohol and drug abuse
  • Blaming themselves for the violence
  • Regression to an earlier stage of development, such as thumb sucking and bedwetting
  • Becoming increasingly anxious or fearful
  • Displaying aggressive or destructive behaviour
  • Withdrawing from people and events
  • Becoming a victim or perpetrator of bullying
  • Showing cruelty to animals
  • Displaying speech difficulties, such as stuttering
  • Misusing drugs and alcohol (in young adults).

Long-term effects of domestic violence

A child growing up with domestic violence learns to solve their problems the same way - with violence. They will often grow up to copy the role models of their parents.

If they're women, they may grow up to be abused mothers. If they're men, they may grow up to be abusers.  They learn that it is okay to treat people in a degrading and abusive way. Children who have lived with domestic violence need counselling to help them learn to treat others with respect.

Mothers Are Not To Blame 
So often mother’s blame themselves for domestic violence and it’s effects on their children, even though they’re not the abuser. Abusers can often be very nice to the children whilst abusing the mother. Even if he doesn’t hurt the children directly, he’s hurting them by not providing a safe, happy and healthy childhood. You’re role as a good parent may also be much more difficult, as he can erode and undermine your authority and respect with the children.

You need help so you can help your children – that’s the bottom line.   
You’re children can’t feel safe and happy if they know they’re mother is being abused. No matter how hard you try, and how much you care about your children, your children will be affected by your partner’s violence. Even if you try and keep it hidden, children are very smart and they sense the atmosphere.