Even if they are not being physically hurt, they are being emotionally abused. It is terrifying for kids to know that a parent is being hurt… and they DO know.
Don’t tell yourself that they didn’t see or hear what happened, so it doesn’t affect them. Children are aware of everything that goes on in their homes, and abuse of a parent is one of the scariest things they can experience.
Kids who witness family violence are likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems if they don’t receive help.
They may become anxious, depressed, jumpy and easily intimidated by others. They may have problems sleeping or paying attention in school. Or they may become angry and aggressive, bullying other kids.
Children who grow up in violent homes are much more likely to become abusive spouses or victims of domestic violence themselves.
If you are unwilling to leave your abuser for your own sake, do it for your kids.
Free counseling for children who have witnessed violence is available from Parent & Child, 238-2777, and the Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center, 236-1401.
DFCS (the Department of Family and Children Services) is the state agency that investigates child abuse and neglect. If your child witnesses family violence, s/he is a victim of emotional abuse, which can result in a DFCS report.
Caseworkers do not want to take your kids; they only want to make sure that children are safe.
If you are making serious efforts to establish an independent life away from your abuser and to provide a safe and violence-free home for your children, you have nothing to fear from DFCS. If you lie to your worker, cover up for the abuser, or repeatedly return to him/her, then your worker may have to take action to protect your children.
All siblings fight at times, but particularly in violent homes, older, bigger or stronger kids may abuse younger or smaller brothers or sisters.
By physically or emotionally bullying younger siblings, older kids are copying the violence they’ve witnessed and are attempting to feel more strong and powerful—because they feel so small and weak and powerless when they see a parent get hurt.
Although understandable, such behavior should never be tolerated. For help, call Parent & Child at 238-2777 or CCAC at 236-1401.
Children who experience family violence—even if they’re not direct witnesses—may show signs of any of the following:
Unfortunately, kids who grow up in violent homes and who don’t receive appropriate intervention are also more likely to become victims or abusers themselves.
Just because a child does not show outward symptoms doesn’t mean s/he isn’t suffering and in need of help.
For information or counseling services, call Coastal Children’s Advocacy Center at 236-1401 or Parent & Child at 238-2777
© 2009 The Savannah Chatham Family Violence Council Web Site by Studio Martin