Office of Childrens Ombudsman
Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Studies suggest up to 10 million children are exposed to some form of domestic violence each year. This includes children seeing, hearing or observing the effects (bruises, broken bones, abrasions, etc.) of domestic violence. Although many parents may think their children do not know domestic violence is occurring, research suggests between 80 and 90 percent of these children are aware of the violence. Such exposure can have serious harmful effects on a child’s well-being and developmental growth. The consequences of being exposed to domestic violence include, but are not limited to:
Physical Symptoms: Children may complain of general aches and pains, such as headaches and stomachaches. They may also experience frequent illnesses, fatigue, digestive problems and bed wetting. Being exposed to domestic violence can even cause a child’s brain to develop differently. 
Behavioral Symptoms: Children who are exposed to domestic violence show signs of increased aggression, difficulty concentrating, sleeplessness, destructive behavior, nightmares and lying. In some instances these behaviors can lead to legal difficulties, substance abuse and poor academic performance. 
Emotional Symptoms: Children often believe they are responsible or partly to blame for domestic violence. They experience anxiety, fear, humiliation, shame, anger, loneliness and powerlessness. They have intense worry about the safety of their parent, siblings and themselves. Many children who are exposed to domestic violence can develop symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health conditions. 
Social Symptoms: Children who have been exposed to domestic violence may show a distrust of adults and may isolate themselves from others. They may also go on to use violence and power or engage in exploitative relationships later in life as adults. 
For more information or help with issues related to domestic violence please visit:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline website
The Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board website
1 "Domestic Violence Statistics." N.p., 2015. Web. 27 Aug. 2015. <http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/>.
2 "The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children." The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children. IHS/BIA Child Protection Handbook - 2005, n.d. Web. 27 Aug. 2015. <http://www.ktik-nsn.gov/documents/effects_dv_children.pdf>.
3 "Effects of Domestic Violence on Children." Effects of Domestic Violence on Children. Wikipedia, 13 May 2015. Web. 27 Aug. 2015. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_domestic_violence_on_children#Behavioral_symptoms>.