Effects of domestic violence

Violence and the threat of violence at home creates fear and can destroy normal family functioning. Violence in the home also affects children. Children and young people don't have to see the violence to be affected by it.

Living with domestic violence can cause physical and emotional harm to children and young people.

Children and young people who live with domestic violence are more likely to display aggressive behaviour, experience anxiety, have reduced social skills, suffer symptoms of depression and show emotional distress.

Domestic violence and children

For optimal development, children and young people need to grow up in a secure and nurturing environment. Where domestic or family violence exists, the home is not safe or secure and chilldren are scared about what might happen to them and the people they love.

Studies show that children who have witnessed domestic violence are more likely to:

  • show aggressive behaviour
  • develop phobias and insomnia
  • experience anxiety
  • show symptoms of depression
  • have diminished self esteem
  • demonstrate poor academic performance and problem solving skills
  • have reduced social competence skills, including low levels of empathy
  • show emotional distress
  • have physical complaints.

Also see the Domestic violence brochure - what domestic violence is and how to get help.

It is also available in seventeen community languages: Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Dari, Dinka, Farsi, Fijian, Korean, Macedonian, Russian, Samoan, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Tongan, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

The Supporting someone who experiences domestic violence brochure is also available in five community languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Community Services Centre for Parenting and Research has produced a discussion paper on domestic violence and its impacts on children’s development.

The Domestic Violence Line is a 24 hour, 7 days per week telephone service for people affected by domestic violence.

The trained, all female staff provide telephone counselling, information and referrals for people affected by domestic violence, including referral to emergency and longer term accommodation. Telephone interpreters are used to assist callers when needed.

Domestic Violence Line
1800 65 64 63

open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)