In a 1999 article titled “Domestic Violence and Children: Analysis and Recommendations” by Richard Behman, MD; Lucy Salcido, JD; and Lois Weithorn, PhD, JD; authors suggest that living in a home where domestic violence is a common occurrence can have serious negative effects on children. Effects may manifest themselves in the shape of aggression, phobias, insomnia, low self-esteem and depression.
According to the same study, victims may also perform poor academically, have poor problem-solving skills, as well as lack empathy. Continued exposure to domestic violence may also result in emotional numbing, post-traumatic stress disorder, avoidance of any reminders of the violent event or obsessive focus on the occurrence. Studies indicate that the effects of exposure can carry to the adulthood, culminating in depression, low self-esteem, violence and criminal activity.
The effects of exposure to domestic violence can vary from one child to another, however. The family unit, community environment and the child’s personality may either lead to strength in dealing with the situation or place the child in a high-risk category. The child’s ability to cope with such potentially harmful conditions can be affected by the presence of a protective factor. This factor can be the existence of a strong, positive relationship with a competent and caring adult, according to the Future of Children.