Am I Being Abused?

What is Abuse?

Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. 

It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating.  Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Abuse is a repetitive pattern of behaviors to maintain power and control over an intimate partner. These are behaviors that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. Abuse includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of abuse can be going on at any one time.

 Domestic Violence Power And Control Wheel

 

Abuse affects everyone; especially children who witness it.

child-girl-self-reflection

Exposure
Children are exposed to or experience domestic violence in many ways. They may hear one parent/caregiver threaten the other, observe a parent who is out of control or reckless with anger, see one parent assault the other, or live with the aftermath of a violent assault. Many children are affected by hearing threats to the safety of their caregiver, regardless of whether it results in physical injury. Children who live with domestic violence are also at increased risk to become direct victims of child abuse. In short, domestic violence poses a serious threat to children's emotional, psychological, and physical well-being, particularly if the violence is chronic.

Effects 
Not all children exposed to violence are affected equally or in the same ways. For many children, exposure to domestic violence may be traumatic, and their reactions are similar to children's reactions to other traumatic stressors.

Short-Term Effects of Domestic Violence on Children:

-Anxiety/On Edge

-Sleeplessness

-Nightmares

-Difficulty concentrating

-Increased aggression

-Separation anxiety

-Intense worry about their safety

 Long Term Effects of Domestic Violence on Children:

-Physical health problems

-Behavioral problems in adolescence (e.g. delinquency, substance abuse, alcohol

-Emotional difficulties in adulthood (e.g. depression, anxiety disorders, stormy relationships, PTSD

Exposure to domestic violence has also been linked to poor school performance. Children who grow up with domestic violence may have impaired ability to concentrate; difficulty in completing school work; and lower scores on measures of verbal, motor, and social skills.

parents-fighting-child-teddy-bear-mdn

 

Nurturing children from abusive homes can bring healing to their lives. In giving needed love and care to children, it is important for a parent to reflect these essentials:


Trust and Respect
Acknowledge children's right to have their own feelings, friends, activities and opinions. Promote independence, allow for privacy and respect their feelings for the other parent. Believe in them.


Provide Emotional Security
Talk and act so children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves. Be gentle. Be dependable.


Provide Physical Security
Provide healthy food, safe shelter and appropriate clothing. Teach personal hygiene and nutrition. Monitor safety. Maintain a family routine. Attend to wounds.


Provide Discipline
Be consistent; ensure that rules are appropriate to age and development of the child. Be clear about limits and expectations. Use discipline to give instruction, not to punish.

Give Time
Participate in your children's lives, in their activities, school, sports, special events, celebrations and friends. Include your children in your activities. Reveal who you are to your children.

Encourage and Support
Be affirming. Encourage children to follow their interests. Let children disagree with you. Recognize improvement. Teach new skills. Let them make mistakes.

Give Affection
Express verbal and physical affection. Be affectionate when your children are physically or emotionally hurt.


Care for Yourself
Give yourself personal time. Keep yourself healthy. Maintain friendships. Accept love.

 

 

Click here for more resources, or call our hotline to speak with an advocate 540-667-6466

 

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