Domestic violence in the home can affect the entire family system, and children often feel that impact. There are some misconceptions about children who’ve experienced domestic violence such as children being too young to realize what is happening or children being resilient and unaffected.
Whether it is emotional or physical violence, children pick up on the tensions between parents/caregivers and may feel many conflicting emotions as a result. At DOVE, we know the importance of working with survivors and their families as units and support parents to talk with their children about what they’ve experienced. The good news is that there are many ways to support children to mitigate the impact of domestic violence. Some might include getting a child connected to therapy, increasing social and physical activities in a child’s life, and connecting children to other supportive adults who can model healthy relationships. Any chance to increase a child’s sense of safety and connection can help to increase a child’s overall wellbeing.
October is domestic violence awareness month. Typically, we focus our work and intent on adult survivors, however, we know that children are having impacts as well. As isolation has increased with social distancing and virtual learning for all families, we know this is a heightened time for many and continue to base our work around increasing safety and connection with survivors in our community.