As readers of this blog know, domestic violence affects individuals throughout Ohio. While domestic violence has a significant impact on the direct victims of abuse, children can also be indirectly affected by domestic violence. This is critical, as this may be the information a domestic violence victim needs in order to take the legal steps often necessary to obtain protection for him or herself and his or her children. So, how does domestic violence affect children?
First, studies have shown a correlation between spousal and child abuse. This means that those who abuse their spouse are also more likely to abuse their children. While many think of men abusing women in these contexts, it can also go the other way. A wife or girlfriend can abuse her husband or boyfriend and also abuse her children. Along the same lines, children who witness abuse may try to step in to stop it. This can lead to the child being attacked, causing serious physical, emotional and psychological harm.
Second, children who witness abuse can learn the wrong message. If they see their parent struck by another, they may grow up thinking that it is okay or normal to hit those close to them. Therefore, many children who come from a household with domestic violence often become abusers themselves.
Third, children who come from homes of domestic violence are often traumatized. These kids are more likely to develop psychological and emotional disorders as a result of witnessing violence in the home, and they might also develop behavioral problems.
As can be seen, domestic violence can have a tremendous impact on children. Thus, those who are subjected to physical or emotional abuse by their significant other may want to seek a protective order not only for themselves, but for their children as well. It also might be pertinent in these situations to seek modification of any existing child custody or visitation matters, or address them accordingly if divorce is in the foreseeable future.
Source: Ohio Legal Services, "Domestic Violence, Stalking or Sexual Assault: Domestic Violence and Children," accessed on May 8, 2016