Children, victims Of Domestic Violence – Favour Nkem chibuihe
Domestic violence has effect not only on the primary victim but also children who witness the abuse. Domestic violence and abuse hurts children’s self esteem and makes them less active in thier daily activities. The writer of this article sets to educate the public on the effect domestic violence has on children, ways to avoid it’s negative impact on children and also to teach parents or direct victims of domestic violence ways to protect their children and also provide solution to help children that has been affected by domestic violence.
Many children exposed to violence in the home are also victims of physical abuse. Children who witness domestic violence or are victims of abuse themselves are at serious risk for long-term physical and mental health problems. Children who witness violence between parents may also be at greater risk of being violent in their future relationships. If you are a parent who is experiencing abuse, it can be difficult to know how to protect your child. Each child responds differently to abuse and trauma. Some children are more resilient, and some are more sensitive. How successful a child is at recovering from abuse or trauma depends on several things which will be talked about as we go further in this article, Children in homes where one parent is abused may feel fearful and anxious. They may always be on guard, wondering when the next violent event will happen. This can cause them to react in different ways, depending on their age.
It is, however, estimated that approximately one in every three women suffers domestic violence and Intimate Partner Violence from the hands of those who claim to love and supposedly, protect them and six of every ten children witness violence and abuse in Nigeria.
EFFECT OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN
Exposure to violence can harm a child’s emotional, psychological and even physical development. Children exposed to violence are more likely to have difficulty in school, abuse drugs or alcohol, act aggressively, suffer from depression or other mental health problems and engage in criminal behavior as adults. For example, a boy who sees his mother being abused is 10 times more likely to abuse his female partner as an adult. A girl who grows up in a home where her father abuses her mother is more than six times as likely to be sexually abused as a girl who grows up in a non-abusive home. Children who witness or are victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are at higher risk for health problems as adults. These can include mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. They may also include diabetes, obesity, heart disease, poor self-esteem, and other problems.
HOW CAN A CHILD BE PROTECTED FROM DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
Making a safety plan for you and your child,
Listening and talking to your child and letting them know that abuse is not OK and is not their fault
Reaching out to a domestic violence support person who can help you learn your options
If you are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship, you may want to keep quiet about it in front of your children. Young children may not be able to keep a secret from an adult in their life. Children may say something about your plan to leave without realizing it. If it would be unsafe for an abusive partner to know ahead of time you’re planning to leave, talk only to trusted adults about your plan. It’s better for you and your children to be physically safe than for your children to know ahead of time that you will be leaving. Educate your children about domestic violence and let them know that it’s not a good thing to do when they become adults.
Children do best in a safe, stable, loving environment, whether that’s with one parent or two. You may think that your kids won’t be negatively affected by the abuse if they never see it happen. But children can also hear abuse, such as screaming and the sounds of hitting. They can also sense tension and fear. Even if your kids don’t see you being abused, they can be negatively affected by the violence they know is happening. Your safety and the safety of your children are the biggest priorities. If you are not yet ready or willing to leave an abusive relationship, you can take steps to help yourself and your children now. How successful a child is in recovering from a trauma or abuse is dependent on several things like a good support system or good relationships with trusted adults
Although children will probably never forget what they saw or experienced during the abuse, they can learn healthy ways to deal with their emotions and memories as they mature. The sooner a child gets help, the better his or her chances for becoming a mentally and physically healthy adult.
by Favour Nkem Chibuihe, 400 level law student in enugu state University of science and technology