Children and youth who witness domestic violence are affected in different ways. Children and youth may display mental, social and physical reactions as a result. Based on their age of development, these following behaviors/reactions may be observed:

Newborn to 5 year old

  • Sleep and/or eating disruptions
  • Lack of responsiveness/Withdrawn
  • Intense separation anxiety
  • Inconsolable crying
  • Developmental regression, loss of acquired skills
  • Intense anxiety, worries or new fears
  • Increased aggression and/or impulsive behavior

Ages 6 to 11

  • Nightmares, sleep disruptions
  • Aggression and difficulty with peers
  • Difficulty with concentration and task completion
  • Withdrawn/ Emotional numb
  • School avoidance and/or truancy

Ages 12 to 18

  • School failure
  • Impulsive and/or reckless behaviors, e.g.,
    • School truancy
    • Substance misuse
    • Running away
  • Involvement in violent or abusive dating relationships
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawn

Source: National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Exposure to domestic violence can have long-term effects on children and youth leading to post-traumatic stress, poor socialization skills and normalization of violence as a form of problem-solving. To reduce these effects, NCCADV has a program to address the safety and well-being of children and youth.

We provide help by offering:

  • Trainings to explain the effects of child and youth exposure to domestic violence;
  • Answering questions about related topics like
    • the child welfare system response to domestic violence response system,
    • Safety planning for children and teens
    • current resources catering to children/youth, and
    • developing effective child- and youth-centered programming;
  • Policy recommendations to broaden services aware of domestic violence and other intersecting issues.

In addition, you can get a FREE order of “The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children and Youth” in English and/or Spanish by going to this link. You can also review other resources for parents/caregivers and child-serving professionals.