The Effects of Exposure to Violence on Children

When there is violence in the family, it affects every member. Often adults assume that children are not aware. But children take in the sights and sounds and feelings of abuse in the home. It affects their emotions, their behaviour, and the way that they view themselves and the world around them.

Children sometimes react quickly to a particular trauma, perhaps becoming clingy or fearful. More often, the changes are gradual as children strive to deal with their emotions and experiences over time. Some may become angry, disrespectful, or aggressive. Others can grow anxious or withdrawn. Children may blame themselves or may blame the victim as they struggle to form explanations for what has happened.

Children who have difficulty after there has been violence in their homes need to have their experiences acknowledged. They need the opportunity to understand the impact on themselves and to explore new ways of coping. Y’s Kids is a program providing group and individual interventions for children and youth who have been exposed to violence in the home. (YWCA Regina)