Hidden Hurt Domestic Abuse Information

Domestic Violence and Children


The topic of domestic violence and children is quite a vast one. Where there are children involved in an abusive relationship, even when the parents think or hope that the children are not directly affected by what is going on between the parents, that is a fallacy.

PLEASE NOTE: Hidden Hurt does not discuss all forms of child abuse or even child abuse in general, but only those specifically associated with Domestic Violence and Abuse.

Children are often described as the 'forgotten victims' of Domestic Abuse. Children are affected not only by directly witnessing abuse, but also by living in an environment where usually their mother - usually the main caregiver - is being repeatedly victimised.

Children in a home where the mother is being abused are also at greater risk of being abused themselves, or being used to control their mother. Due to his own lack of self-worth the abusive partner feels the need to control all those to whom he considers himself superior. In a family, this includes the children.

In other families again, it is the mother who is the main abuser, or permits men in her life to physically or sexually abuse their children.

"But after that, when I was 16, so still a teen, but of a legal age to consent (!), the prostitution began. My mother started to charge men money to rape me; she arranged and got paid for these rapes maybe 5 times and after the second time, I got pregnant again though I had a miscarriage 7 weeks later." (Bonita's Story)

Hence domestic violence affects children in multiple ways:

  • children can suffer from witnessing abuse
  • children can be harmed as a result of trying to break up a fight or ward off an attack by the abuse
  • children can pick up on the fear, anxiety and trauma of the person being abused and can also pick up on the aggressive vibes from the perpetrator of violence
  • children living in a home with domestic violence are at a far greater risk of suffering child abuse directly (the NSPCC recently reported that in one third of the child abuse cases they were made aware of, domestic violence in the home was a factor
  • children can be used to manipulate one partner against the other, both while still living together and once the victim of abuse has left
  • children are frequently used to threaten the victim to ensure they stay or submit to further abuse (threats such as the abuser will harm or kill the children, report the mother to Social Services, or gain custody of the children are all very common)

Children living with domestic violence do not have a happy home in which they can feel secure and loved, even when their non-abusive parent wants to provide them with security and strong boundaries, this is usually hampered by the abusive parent.

"My brother and sister would be asleep and I'd sit at the top of the stairs for hours on end, listening to the shouting. Being the eldest, I had to keep my brother and sister from witnessing it too. I hated it. I've witnessed him throw a glass at her which just missed her head. I've witnessed him hit her in the nose, smack her round her face, pin her up against a wall several times and try to strangle her. I don't know how she did it, but my mum would get the strength to push him off and he'd give up then. Then he'd start shouting abuse at her, calling her a "mardy bitch" all sorts. I've been in the same room before when they were arguing and he kicked her in the stomach and she went flying into the computer desk and her mouth was bleeding. I've had to run in the middle of them before when he's gone to attack her. I used to plead to her for years for her to leave him. But she wanted to stay for me, my brother and sister. (Zena's Story)"

To be better able to help children living with domestic violence, we need to be able to better understand the effect which witnessing abuse has on them, understand how the children are being used by the abuser, consider the risk of actual harm to the child themselves and finally look at ways of helping the children, whether we remain in an abusive relationship or not.


In another of Lundy Bancroft fantastic books, The Batterer as Parent takes the reader inside of homes affected by domestic violence, imparting an understanding of the atmosphere that battering men create for the children who live with them. It show how partner abuse affects each relationship in a family, and explains how children’s emotional recovery is inextricably linked to the healing and empowerment of their mothers. Also cover the important but often-overlooked area of the post-separation parenting behaviours of men who batter, including their use of custody litigation as a tool of abuse:

To order in the US: The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (Sage Series on Violence Against Women)

To order in the UK: The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (SAGE Series on Violence against Women)


A Childhood Lost

I am the eldest one of three
I have two brothers younger than me
When we were growing up our lives were sad
Living at home with our mum and dad

We had no money and very little food
He spent it on drink and came home in a mood
The teachers at my school said how well I did
They must have known the secrets I hid

How may pairs of glasses can one woman break?
The bruises, the marks, the lives at stake
That's why we slept out on the streets at night
For me it was safer, so we used to take flight

Away from the man supposed to protect
Out into the darkness, did anyone suspect?
For if we stayed I knew what it would mean
A beating for mum would be heard or seen

I envied my friends, they had happy lives
With dads who actually loved their wives
I am now older with kids of my own
My dad's 56 and now lives alone

He lost his kids, his home and his wife
He's dying of cancer, now he's losing his life

He’s no longer scary, he's no longer bad
He's a Grandad who's dying, but he's still my dad.

~ T.


At the top of the stairs

The young boys sat sobbing
At the top of the stairs
Trying not to make a sound
Hearing the drunken bully
Shouting his abuses
Knowing that justice won't be found

Torn over what to do they just sat
At the top of the stairs
Awoken from their dreams
For what seemed like ages
They had laid quite still
Hoping the sounds were not what they seem

The familiar sounds of crying met them
At the top of the stairs
When the finally ventured out
Courage taking them down
Only a few steps
Before finally wimping out

For many times they had sat
At the top of the stairs
Wishing they were bigger and older
Wanting to run downstairs
And pull the bastard off
But knowing they'd need to be much bolder

The guilty fearful boys that sat
At the top of the stairs
Heard the pleas for an end
'Til one day their brave Mother
Decided her bruises
For the last time she would mend

The boys now grown men
Dearly love their Mother
Who for them unconditionally cares
Since the day of their Mothers independence
They vowed never ever again to just sit
At the top of the stairs

~ written by the son of a DV survivor

His Story is a poem of honesty, relief and release that touches on a young childÂ’s experience of Domestic Violence towards his mother from his father, which drives through his background of what he saw as a child, the way it made him feel and how he reacted.

The name His Story is a view from a child witnessing abuse. It brings attention to all the unspoken cases of domestic violence. I wrote this poem to bring awareness to the unheard of cases of women being abused, so they can speak up and seek for help. If we keep everything in the closet nothing will ever change. I really believe our stories will help us face our reality so we can ask for help and raise attention to others.

Written and spoken by the Spoken Word Artist Kayrond



Return from Domestic Violence and Children to Hidden Hurt Home.

 

In This Section:

Personal Stories from Children who have witnessed Domestic Violence:

Carla's Story
Jay's Story
Lash's Story
Hidden Talents
Daisy' Story
Zena's Story
Bonita's Story

Recommended Reading:

Useful Books on Domestic Violence and Children available from the UK:

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft

The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics by Lundy Bancroft

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse by Lundy Bancroft

Children's Perspectives on Domestic Violence


Useful Books on Domestic Violence and Children available in the US:

When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse by Lundy Bancroft

The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics by Lundy Bancroft

Children Who See Too Much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project

 

 

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UK National Domestic Violence Freephone number 0808 2000 247

In another of Lundy Bancroft fantastic books, The Batterer as Parent takes the reader inside of homes affected by domestic violence, imparting an understanding of the atmosphere that battering men create for the children who live with them. It show how partner abuse affects each relationship in a family, and explains how children’s emotional recovery is inextricably linked to the healing and empowerment of their mothers. Also cover the important but often-overlooked area of the post-separation parenting behaviours of men who batter, including their use of custody litigation as a tool of abuse:

To order in the US: The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (Sage Series on Violence Against Women)

To order in the UK: The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (SAGE Series on Violence against Women)


When Dad Hurts Mom. This is a must-read for any woman with children still in or finally out of an abusive marriage. He covers the myriad of ways in which children witnessing domestic violence are affected, the prejudice in the legal establishments and the patriartic world has made the life of female and child victims of abuse difficult. And then he gives you tips on how to conquer this situation and help heal our kids from the trauma of witnessing abuse:

To order in the US: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse

To order in the UK: When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse


Safeguarding children training

In Love and in Danger is one of the only books available on dating violence and abusive relationships that addresses young adults directly. Includes facts about dating violence, tips for how to tell if your relationship is abusive, information on why dating abuse happens, and what you can do if you are being abused by (or are abusing) someone you love.

To order in the US: In Love and In Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships

To order in the UK: In Love and in Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships

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