Children in Domestic & Family Violence
Children who live in a relationship with a perpetrator and who witness domestic and family violence do not escape the impact of this crime.
Parents who remain in a relationship with a perpetrator must understand and accept that the abuse and violence they are experiencing is also having a significant impact on their children, whether they are physically hurt or not.
Children can be directly affected by being present or indirectly when they witness an assault occurring (pushing, hitting or twisting an arm); smashing of property; seeing or hearing ongoing harassment and intimidation or hearing the victim parent constantly crying from the trauma.
Some children are brave and try to stop the perpetrator and often get physically hurt themselves. Other children may react by copying the perpetrator and begin hitting the victim parent or their brothers and sisters. These children may frequently engage in “Bullying” at home and at school as a direct result of ‘learned’ behaviour from the perpetrator. Visit the Bullying at School and in the home page.
The impact on all children living in this situation will result in some change in their behaviour. They could become aggressive or withdrawn and become overly anxious in situations, become depressed, develop low self-esteem and a range of other reactive or repressive behaviours.
Many children continue to live in an environment of abuse and violence and do not receive help to understand why this behaviour is wrong. Many of these children will go on to repeat this violent behaviour in their adult life within their own relationships and families or, in the cases of a child victim, may later choose a partner who is violent. In either case, this is repeating the “Cycle of Violence”.
If this is your situation and, you are staying for the ‘sake of the children’ then, STOP and consider all the long-term consequences of your decision.
For the ‘sake of the children’, you must get help, now!
Who do I Speak to?
If you need help or feel you just want to speak to a counsellor, call the Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63 (toll free) or TTY 1800 671 442 (for callers with a hearing impairment).
Your call will be answered, 24hrs a day every day of the week. They can assist you with advice about your safety needs, obtaining Apprehended Violence Orders, protecting your children, how to get legal help, how to get court support, how to get counselling, referrals to women's refuges and other support you may need. For more information visit the DoCS Domestic Violence Line.
Protecting Yourself and your Children
For information on how to protect yourself from the perpetrator, visit the Protecting Children webpage.
If your child is at risk, call the DoCS Helpline on 132 111.
If you need to speak to a Police Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) contact your Local Police Station.