Children of all ages can be deeply affected by domestic violence
Infants – may not develop the appropriate attachments to their caretakers who are crucial to their development and may suffer “failure to thrive.”
Preschool Children – may regress developmentally and suffer sleep disturbances including nightmares.
School age Children – develop behavioral problems including: depression, anxiety, violence toward peers and difficulty with authority. In some cases the anxiety level can be so high children are afraid to attend school for fear of what will happen to the abused parent or younger siblings when they are not home.
Adolescents– have increased risk for repeating abusive behavior patterns in their dating relationships.
They are also at increased risk for alcohol and drug abuse, criminal behavior and eventual entry into the criminal justice system.
Adolescents are at risk of academic failure, school drop-out, delinquency, and substance abuse. Some investigators have suggested that a history of family violence or abuse is the most significant difference between delinquent and non delinquent youth.
Children who witness domestic violence may have the following symptoms