Children & Second Hand Abuse

Domestic Violence has a devastating impact on children and young people that can last into adulthood. Domestic abuse services offer specialist emotional and practical support for children and young people affected by domestic abuse. I would highly suggest that if your child has been a part of your domestic abuse you should seek the help that he/her needs.

Are the effects the same for every child?

Children can experience both short and long term cognitive, behavioral and emotional effects as a result of witnessing domestic abuse. Each child will respond differently to trauma and some may be resilient and not exhibit and negative effects.

Children responses to the trauma of witnessing domestic abuse may vary according to a multitude of factors including, but not limited to, age, race, sex and stage of development. It is equally important to remember that these responses may also be caused by something other than witnessing domestic abuse. Children are individuals and may respond to witnessing abuse in different ways.

Listed are some of the effects of abuse:

They may become anxious or depressed

They may have difficulty sleeping

They have nightmares or flashbacks

They can be easily startled

They may explain of physical symptoms such as tummy aches

They may start to wet their bed

They may have temper tantrums and problems with school

They may behave as though they are much younger than they are

They may become aggressive or they may internalize their distress and withdraw from other people

They may have a lowered sense of self-worth

Older children may begin to play with alcohol or drugs

Older children may begin to self harm themselves by overdosing

Older children may begin cutting themselves or have an eating disorder

Children may also feel guilty, angry, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless or confused. They may have ambivalent feelings towards both the abuser and the non-abusing parent.

Do children grow up and become abusers and/or victims?

The “cycle of violence” otherwise known as the “inter-generational theory” is often referred to when considering the effects of domestic abuse on children; however research findings are inconsistent, and there is no automatic cause and effect relationship.

Many people believe this theory is dis-empowering and ineffective when working with children. A boy who has witnessed domestic abuse does not have to grow up to be an abuser and a girl does not have to grow up to be a victim of domestic abuse later in life.

In school there should be educational programmed focusing on healthy relationships, and challenging gender inequality, sexual stereotyping, and domestic abuse, should be integrated with work on anti bullying and conflict resolution as a mandatory part of the PHSE curriculum in all schools. These would act as important preventive measures.

Abuse through child contact

Unfortunately, even after separating from the abusers, many mothers find it extremely difficult to protect their children from ongoing abuse as a result of their requirement to comply with the courts. The organizations supports a child’s right to safe contact, but recognizes that contacting with an abusing parent may or always be in child’s best interest.

Getting help and support

Advice for children and young people are important.

National Coalition for domestic violence has 24 hour help.

Talk to a teacher, a police officer, a priest/clergy/church.

They will explain and help the children and young people to understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it is happening to you.

Stay Safe.

Cover your tracts

Warning: if your worried about someone knowing you visited this website please read the following safety information.

Please note that the information below will not completely cover your tracts, if you want to be completely sure of not being tracked online, the safest way would be to access the internet at a local library, school, college or at a friend’s house.

Also make sure that you don’t add the website address for “Enuff is Enuff to your book marks. Websites that you have visited are stored on your computer as “temporary internet files and “cookies”.

How do I work out which browser I’m using?

If you know what browser you are using, then skip to the relevant instructions below. If you do not know the type of browser you are using, click on help on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen. A drop down menu will appear, the last entry will say About Internet Explorer, About Mozilla Firefox or something similar. The entry refers to which browser type you are using ~ you should then refer to the relevant instructions below.

Internet Explorer

Click on the tools menu and select internet options. In the general page under browser History select the delete…button. Either select and delete each section:

Temporary internet files; Cookies, History; Forms data and Passwords; or select the Delete all…button at the bottom to clear everything.

Mozilla Firefox

Click on Tools and Options. Firefox bundles cookies, forms and history under the heading “history”. Click the privacy tab, then on “clear your recent history”. Select the information you want to delete. Click on details to select cookies, forms etc.

To delete passwords click on the security tab where you can view all the passwords saved when you browse the web. You can delete them here and remember not to allow Firefox to save them in the future.

In Firefox you (or someone accessing your computer) can actually read the passwords saved on your system. If you use the password the same for many things consider changing them all if you have allowed your browser to save any.

You can also adjust how you want Firefox to store your data under the privacy tab.


To remove history go to History, and click clear History.

To remove cookies go to settings (right hand side), Preferences, Privacy Tab and click Remove all Website Data (or Details to select certain sites.)

Chrome, Opera and other browsers

There are many new browsers on the market, so it is always advisable to search for advice on your own browser.


An email you have previously sent will be stored in sent items. Go to sent items and delete emails you don’t want a person to see. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your drafts folder. Go to the draft folder and delete it.

If you reply to any email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.

When you delete an item in any email program (Outlook Express, Outlook Thunderbird etc.) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted items. You have to delete the items to remove them completely.

If there’s a risk that someone may know how to access your emails, it is a good idea to set up a new email account. Use a provider like Hotmail or Yahoo for an account you can access from anywhere and use a name that is not recognizable as you, for example Keep this email secret.


Toolbars such as Google, Aol, and Yahoo keeps a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar.

For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search” History”. With AOL, to remove trace of the websites you’ve visited, hold down the “control” key and the “h” key.

Is it happening to me?

How do you feel when you’re home with your family? Are there any warning signs to show that things aren’t quite right?

My family has arguments and fights

__ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

I feel safe and supported at home

__ Always __ Sometimes __ Never

One person in my family hurts another

__Always __ Sometimes ___ Never

I trust people in my family not to hurt me

__Always __ Sometimes ___Never

My family treat each other with respect

__Always __ Sometimes __Never

Home is a place where I often feel scared

__Always __ Sometimes __Never

Everyone in my family is cared for and made to feel important

__Always __Sometimes __Never

People call each other names which upsets me

__Always __Sometimes __Never

One person makes the other feel bad

__Always __Sometimes __Never

Who live in a home where there is battering are likely to experience a variety of negative effects and problems

May be injured during an incident of violence

May suffer feelings of helplessness, they may even blame themselves for not preventing the violence or for causing it

May be abused and neglected themselves

Living with domestic violence experience unnaturally high levels of anxiety.

May suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (similar to what war veterans suffer and other people who have had some form of trauma done to them)

Often experience difficulties in school

Living in violent homes have more frequent incidents of theft, insomnia, temper tantrums, and violence toward others than children raised in non-violent atmosphere

Who live in abusive homes have a higher risk of juvenile delinquency and substance abuse.

Warn children to stay out of the adults conflicts.

Make a list of people the children can trust and talk to when they are feeling unsafe.

Teach children to use police and other emergency phone numbers.

Decide ahead of time on a safe place the children can go when they feel unsafe.

Talk to your parents if you can, or decide which friend, teacher, relative or police officer you can tell.

Telephone the Probation Department and speak with the assigned probation officer.

If the juvenile batterer is appearing in court, you have the right to be notified, to be present in court, to submit a statement to the court,

in person or in writing, and to have a support person present.

A child that is abused in one way or another is usually abused in other ways.

For example a child that is beaten may also be yelled at and intimidated.

Every member of a family in which abuse occurs is affected.

An abused parent may take out their frustrations and anger out on their children.

Children who are abused or witness abuse may eventually abuse younger siblings, their own children, spouse, or elderly parents.

Intervention and counseling are necessary to combat long-term emotional damage.

Boys and girls of all ages, race and economic backgrounds are the victims of abuse.

Children ages five and over are abused more often than younger children.

However, when younger children and babies are abused, they are more likely to suffer serious injury or die.

Also, children under the age of five are at a higher risk of being neglected.

As a minor, you can get a restraining order. A judge will decide if your parents should be notified.

For help with a restraining order, contact an advocate and see the Restraining Order Information.