When it comes to protecting children from domestic violence, the first aspect is protecting them from enduring physical violence themselves. Children are highly vulnerable and may not know what to do, who to tell or how to protect themselves. It’s very important for parents to always put them first and take what steps they can to remove them from a dangerous situation.
There is another side to this, though, and it happens even when children are not direct victims of physical violence themselves. Studies have identified long-term ramifications even when children witness it in the home. If one parent is abusing the other and the child is present for that, it can harm them mentally and emotionally on many levels.
Researchers claim that in excess of 15 million children live in these environments. The long-term impacts of a violent household on children include:
- Related mental health conditions
- Poor self-esteem
- Heart disease
Some of these ramifications are rather shocking. Can witnessing or experiencing domestic violence really increase the odds of obesity and heart disease? Surprising as it is, that’s what researchers have identified, and it’s a very serious issue since heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States — even outpacing cancer.
Children deserve love, respect and a safe home environment where they can feel comfortable and loved. They should never have to live in constant fear or witness destressing acts of violence committed against a parent that they love very much. The impact of this behavior on these children is undeniable and can shape their entire lives. This is just one reason why victims must know all of the legal options they have.