MSD Manual

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Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

One in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence. These children may develop problems such as the following:

  • Excessive anxiety or crying

  • Fearfulness

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Depression

  • Social withdrawal

  • Difficulty in school

Also, children may blame themselves for the situation.

Older children may run away from home. Children who see one parent abuse the other may be more likely to become abusive adults or be more likely to tolerate abuse as adults.

The perpetrator may also physically hurt the children. In homes where domestic violence is present, children are much more likely to be physically mistreated.