Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
In the past, we have blogged about our child and youth program and our concern for the children we serve. Here are some facts about children in shelters.
– Approximately half of women entering a shelter bring children with them
– On any given day in Canada, about 2,500 children are living in an abused women’s shelter with their mothers.
– 67% are under the age of 10 years.
– Across both Anselma House and Haven House between 2012- 2013 we housed 457 residents, 205 of which were children. Families usually stay in our shelter for several months before moving back into the community.
– From Little Eyes, Little Ears, 2007 (see below)
There is no question that children exposed to domestic violence are effected profoundly.
– Children who have lived in homes where domestic violence has occurred may feel overwhelming emotions such as fear, distress, anxiety, self-blame, guilt, anger, confusion, worry, and embarrassment.
– Domestic violence does not just encompass physical violence, but also includes emotional, sexual, psychological, and financial abuse.
– Even if parents think that their children have not been directly exposed to the fighting, children tend to be very aware of dynamics around the abuse and often pick up on the negative energy in a home.
– Children have described several things that they do when fighting is happening in their homes, including: hiding, gathering younger siblings and staying together in one place, trying to stop the fighting by getting in the middle of it, and calling 911.
– Children as young as infants (and even babies in utero) are affected by domestic violence.
“A child who lives with violence is forever changed, but not forever “damaged”. There’s a lot we can do to make tomorrow better”.
Here are some information and local resources to get help with parenting in a situation of domestic violence.
The Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge- North Dumfries- www.fcccnd.com
K-W Counselling- www.kwcounselling.com
Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System- free copies of Little Eyes Little Ears-http://www.lfcc.on.ca/little_eyes_little_ears.html