Exposing children to, or involving children in, incidences of domestic violence is being increasingly recognised as a form of child abuse throughout Australia. These children are often referred to as the ‘silent’ or ‘invisible’ victims.
Witnessing domestic violence can have a vast range of psychological or behavioural effects on children. Depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, moodiness, educational difficulties and increased substance abuse are common results of children hearing the violence, or being forced to play a role in the violence.
In Australia 59% of women who have experienced domestic violence whilst having children in their care reported that the violence had been witnessed by children.
Children who witness domestic are commonly classified as secondary victims and as such are entitled to counselling. For further information on this issue call Victims of Crime Counselling Services on Freecall 1800 000 055.