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Truth and Lies about the effects of Domestic Family Violence on Children

When people think of domestic and family violence, they often think of how much it hurts the adult victim. It’s true that domestic and family violence is most often violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour. But what you may not realise is that children also experience domestic violence and this affects their physical and emotional health and wellbeing. Growing up in a family where there is a perpetrator of Domestic Violence can cause serious long term mental health issues for the children of that home.

At Lifeline, Crisis Support Workers often talk to people who call up with anxiety, they are homeless, have been seeing a psychiatrist for their whole adult life, drug and have alcohol or drug addiction or both, depression, self harm, thoughts of suicide and social behavioural problems just to name a few!

Their life has been and is in crisis and there always seems to be a common threat to their background – they have grown up inside a home with Domestic Violence &/or Coercive Control towards a parent or even towards them.

Lets look at the Lies and the Truths about Domestic Family Violence…


  • It doesn’t effect the kids
  • The children will forget about it
  • The children are too young to understand what’s going on
  • Kids effected by DFV will always bounce back and get over it
  • Talking to kids about it will not help
  • Talking to kids about it will only confuse them
  • The perpetrator is good to the kids so they’ll be ok
  • So long as the children are not hit they’ll be ok
  • It won’t affect their education and development
  • It’ll teach the kids to be strong and tough
  • Life’s alway good when you are a kid
  • It’s part of our culture
  • It’s normal and acceptable
  • The violence is a way to show love


  • It happens in all communities and at all levels of society
  • It can seriously harm children physically and emotionally
  • It can impact on babies and infants
  • Kids are affected even if they don’t see the violence
  • It prevents kids from feel safe
  • It can interfere with a Childs developments and education
  • It can affect a Childs relationship with other people
  • It can give kids nightmares, headaches, stomach pains and regular sickness
  • It damages a Childs self-esteem and confidence
  • Children often believe its their fault
  • It can lead to substance abuse in young people
  • Children can mirror that behaviour in their adult life
  • Talking about the problems with kids can help them
  • Effects on a child are reversible with the right help and support
  • There are services that can help children and families

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