Domestic violence has a demonstrable, long-term impact on adult victims as well as children who witness violence. Children and youth who are exposed to domestic violence experience emotional, mental, and social damage that can affect their developmental growth. It also has adverse effects on the community at large. To respond to the overwhelming issues associated with domestic violence, child welfare professionals must understand these issues and know how to identify them as well as assess and respond to those affected by domestic violence. The following resources offer information to child welfare professionals on the importance of addressing the impact domestic violence has on children, victims, and the community.
Alarming Effects of Children's Exposure to Domestic Violence
Discusses the psychological impacts of domestic violence, including fear of abandonment, worry or sadness, guilt, the inability to experience empathy, lying, emotional distancing, shame, and fear of the future.
The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: Domestic Violence and Shelter-In-Place
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (2021)
Reviews practical steps for families and children to keep them safe and strategies others can use if they think someone they know may be experiencing domestic violence.
Child Witnesses to Domestic Violence
Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health (2019)
Presents information about the impact of domestic violence on children, including those who witness domestic violence. The information covers the short- and long-term effects, how children can recover, how to help children who have witnessed domestic violence, abusive relationships, and safety.
Fostering Resilience in Children Traumatized by Domestic Violence in Collaboration With Their Non-Offending Parent [Webinar]
Johnson, Hill, & Packard (2019)
National Indigenous Women's Resource Center
Presents slides from a webinar on the consequences for children who have been traumatized by witnessing violence against a parent or caregiver. The webinar considers ways to recognize how this trauma affects children and offers methods to support healing and building resiliency for children and their parent(s).
How COVID-19 May Increase Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
American Psychological Association
Discusses the possibility of an increased risk of domestic violence and child abuse during the pandemic and how stress may cause some homes to become unsafe even though they have no previous history of violence.
Intimate Partner Violence: Effects
National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Provides information on the effects of children's exposure to intimate partner violence, including short- and long-term effects and trauma reactions by age group.
Updated Comprehensive Review of Interventions for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence (PDF - 1,170 KB)
Futures Without Violence
Offers a web-based repository of interventions and resources on responding to children's exposure to domestic violence. The report overviews 45 interventions that serve children and families starting on page 16 of the document.
Violence Prevention Research
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Center for Injury Research and Prevention
Discusses the negative effects that witnessing domestic violence can have on children, including physical and mental health consequences and other long-term effects.
What Is the Impact of Childhood Domestic Violence?
Childhood Domestic Violence Association
Describes the impacts of childhood exposure to domestic violence and how experiencing violence can negatively affect a developing brain. The resource addresses the impact to physical health, mental health, behavior, and relationships later in life.