Children and Abuse

When there is domestic violence and abuse in the home, children are not just “exposed” to the violence – they experience the violence and abuse themselves.  Swedish researchers have noted that, “children who experience violence in their homes experience it with all their senses. They hear it, see it, and experience the aftermath. Acts of violence against women not only take place in the adult’s lives, they also take place in the children’s lives” (Ovderlien & Hyden, 2009). 

Such experiences of violence and abuse may lead to considerable pain and suffering for children.  Similar to adult victims who experience domestic violence and abuse, however, children always take action in response to the violent and abusive actions of the person who uses abuse, and they resist and oppose the violence (Overlien & Hyden, 2009). 

The actions that children take when they are experiencing domestic violence and abuse are sometimes unseen (i.e. not noticed by others, or they may also be more obvious actions).  By highlighting these actions  – we can better see and understand all of the many competencies of children.  In having conversations with children about their responses to violence and abuse,  we also help children to see these competencies in themselves.   

At FearIsNotLove, we believe it is important to work with and support all members of the family in creating a future for children where they are safe to be themselves, and where they do not feel afraid in their own homes.  

For an example of how children resist domestic violence and abuse, please see “Stanley on the Shoulders of Giants”).

Learn More

Myths About Abuse

Forms of Abuse

How People Resist Abuse

Am I Abusive?

Children and Abuse

Escape and Safety planning

Help Stop Abuse

How to Support Someone