My child has been affected by domestic abuse

Children who have seen domestic abuse at home can be seriously affected by it – even if they haven’t been physically harmed themselves.

Every child is different, but the signs that something’s wrong can include:

  • anxiety or depression
  • changes in behaviour
  • trouble at school or playing truant
  • angry or aggressive outbursts
  • low self-esteem
  • alcohol or drug use
  • sleep problems, nightmares and bed wetting
  • complaining of tummy aches and headaches
  • feeling guilty, alone, confused, scared
  • being withdrawn
  • self-harming

What you can do for your child

You’ve probably tried your best to protect your children from abuse and harm.

Children need to feel safe – and there’s help available for you if you want to get out of an abusive relationship.

A safe, stable and supportive environment with one parent is better than an abusive one with two.

You can help your child by:

  • talking to them about what is happening so they don’t feel they’re carrying a shameful secret
  • providing time and space for them talk about their hopes and feelings
  • reassuring them that the situation isn’t their fault
  • explaining that abuse is wrong and has no place in healthy relationships
  • encouraging and praising them regularly to give their self-confidence a boost
  • finding another trusted person, counsellor or professional to give them support

Get help

Childline 0800 1111 or 1-2-1 online chat with a counsellor. Free confidential advice and support for children and young people.

The Hideout. Website to help children and young people understand and get over domestic abuse.

NSPCC 0808 800 5000. Free advice and support from professional counsellors if you’re worried about your child.

Refuge offers support and advice for women and children affected by domestic abuse.

Women’s Aid. Information, advice and live chat with trained support workers for women and children survivors of domestic abuse.

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