You are not responsible for your abuser's behaviour. You or your child do not
deserve to experience any form of abuse. Your abuser may blame you and other
things like being drunk, pressure of work, unemployment and minimise or deny
what they are doing. You may have tried changing what you do, say and wear to
try to pacify and not to antagonise the situation. Violence rarely happens only once and will get more and more serious as time goes on. You need to make sure you and your child are safe. It’s not easy to accept that a loved one can act in this way and you may be trying to make the relationship work.
Domestic abuse can affect children in many ways. They may feel frightened, become withdrawn, aggressive or difficult, start bedwetting, run away, have problems at school, lack concentration and suffer emotional upset. Domestic abuse places children at risk of significant harm and professional support is needed. It is best that action is taken early to stop things getting worse. Keeping your child safe is your responsibility. Children can often get caught up in the crossfire and become victims.
Children need time to discuss the feelings they have about violence or abuse. Children need to know that it is not their fault and that this is not the way relationships should be. Services are available to support the whole family irrespective of gender and age.
Domestic abuse affects a number of families. Women are at
increased risk of domestic
abuse during pregnancy and the
first year after giving birth, even
if there has not been any abuse
before. Men can also be victims.
Children do hear, they do see
and they are aware of violence
at home. Children react in
different ways to violence and
research suggests that they are
more likely to become abusers
or victims later in life.
Long-term abuse is much more likely to
cause problems for a child or young
person as they get older. The longer
children are exposed to violence, the more
severe the effects on them are. These can
include a lack of respect for the non-violent
parent, loss of self-confidence
(which will affect their ability to form
relationships in the future), being over-protective
of a parent, loss of childhood,
problems at school and running away.
Many people find it difficult to understand why
people stay in abusive situations. Fear, love,
the risk of homelessness and money worries
can make it difficult for women with children
to leave. If you are a victim of domestic
abuse, you are not the only victim - your
children are too. You can report domestic
abuse to any professional. There are many agencies who will help you to access support from a range of specialist services. See
Even if you think an incident is just a one-off,
other professional agencies may already have
concerns. So your information could be very
You may find these local links useful:
I am being abused and it is effecting my child but if I contact someone it may get worse.
Don’t keep what is happening secret, you have nothing to be ashamed of. The longer abuse goes on the harder it gets to take some action.
Don’t suffer alone, get help by talking to someone you trust or contact one of the organisations listed. Be a survivor - not a victim.