Men have stated to us that their children were not aware of the arguing and fighting in the home. However, researchers have proven that children are very much aware of domestic abuse in the home.
Children are affected deeply by behaviour which occurs in the home. Children can be fearful, anxious, have low self-esteem and may have emotional problems as a result of living with Domestic Violence. Having to keep secrets, coping with divided loyalties, experiencing isolation are all extremely distressing things for a child to deal with no matter what their age. Children have also spoken about losing their childhood.
Below are some quotes from women and men interviewed about how domestic violence affected their children (Kelly and Westmarland, Project Mirabal, 2015)
“They would have been really, really confused. They would have been scared. They would have been angry. They would have been thinking what’s coming next, what’s gonna happen? There would have been a lot of that”
“I don’t think they’ve ever felt safe, I don’t believe a child will ever feel safe in violence, but I think they get more relief when the arguments are over”
“If he is looking up to me as a father figure then he sees me telling his mum to eff off he’ll think daddy does it that’s fine and that’s just not fine for a young child to watch and grow up like because that’s what he will end up doing ’cause he’ll think ‘that’s my great daddy so it’s alright for me to do it as well’ ”