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MSD Manual

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Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

Children Who Witness Domestic Violence

Each year, millions of children are estimated to witness physical or verbal abuse in their homes.

These children may develop problems such as

  • 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.

Boys who see their father abuse their mother may be more likely to become abusive adults. Girls who see their father abuse their mother may 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.