Don’t Let Violence Take Away A Childs’ Smile

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Children are affected by what they hear and witness regardless of whether they are directly abused themselves

Children are affected by what they hear and witness regardless of whether they are directly abused themselves

POWERLESS - because they can’t stop the abuse.

GUILTY - believing that they somehow caused the abuse.

ANGRY at Mom - blaming mom that somehow it was her fault.

ANGRY at Dad -  for hurting Mom.

HELPLESS - because they feel a need to solve the problem but only end up getting hurt when they try to help.

CONFUSED - because parents may try to get children to choose sides.

AFRAID - for themselves and other family members.

ISOLATED / INSECURE - often making up excuses so they don’t have to go home.

DISHONEST / EMBARRASSED - because they make up excuses to family and friends for mom’s bruises.

OVERWHELMED - by the situation, often leading to poor school performance and avoiding friends.

  • Even though there are violent and bad times in the relationship, there are also loving and good times.
  • She probably believes that she must stay married until “death do they part”.
  • She probably believes that the violence will stop if she does all the things a good wife should do
  • She is isolated from family and friends by her husband who has told her she doesn’t need anyone but him, and because she feels embarrassed about bruises and lacerations
  • She is afraid
  • She fears that if she leaves -the abuser will find her and hurt her even more
    • she won’t be able to support herself or her children
    • the husband may get custody of the children because he has more money and can afford a better attorney.
  • Memorize their name and address including City, Province and Country
  • Be able to use both push-button and dial telephones to make emergency, local and long distance calls and to reach the operator
  • To check in with you or a neighbor immediately after arriving home
  • To never go into your home if a door is ajar or a window is broken
  • How to work your home’s door and window locks and to lock them when they are at home alone.
  • How to arm and disarm your alarm system along with your password
  • To never go into anyone else’s home without your permission.
  • Never to go anywhere with another adult, even one who says you have sent him or her. Adopt a family code word to be used if you have to ask a third party to pick up your children
  • To avoid walking or playing alone.
  • That a stranger is someone neither you nor they know well.
  • That if they are being followed either on foot or by car, to run to the nearest public place or neighbor.


  • Young children are as affected by violence as older children
  • They can describe in detail the violent events that they have witnessed
  • Children who witness violence have an increased risk of suffering from emotional or developmental problems
  • They suffer from low self-esteem
  • There are feelings of helplessness or hopelessness and depression
  • Children from violent homes end up believing that violence is an effective way to solve problems and that there are few consequences for these actions
  • Specific effects such as anxiety, sleeping problems, anger, stress, confusion, loneliness, guilt, sadness, embarrassment, bed wetting, temper tantrums, destruction, lying, and so on……
  • Children raised in violent homes are often victims or abusers as adults themselves!

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty,they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte~

What you can do to help a child who has witnessed domestic or family violence

  • Provide an opportunity for the children to tell their stories
  • Believe what they are saying
  • Refer them to any support in the area
  • Ensure that the children know how to protect themselves emotionally and physically by practicing safety plans
  • Convey the message that all types of violence and abuse are unacceptable