Effects of Domestic Violence

Effects on Women


  • Poor self esteem
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Poor self-confidence
  • Feeling ashamed
  • Confusion
  • Sadness and frequent crying
  • Anger
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feeling as though they have failed


  • Difficulty making their own decisions
  • Minimising of denying the abuse
  • Eating issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety, fear, panic
  • Feeling paranoid or crazy
  • Believing they are responsible for the abuse


  • Isolation
  • Loss of freedom and rights
  • Attempting to please others


  • Stress related illness
  • Exhaustion
  • Eating issues
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Injury
  • Death

Effects on Children & Young People


  • Poor health and sleeping habits
  • Excessive screaming
  • Attachment to mother may be disrupted leading to emotional deprivation
  • Permanently altered development of the infant’s central nervous system resulting in ongoing levels of anxiety, hyperactivity and mood disorders
  • Infants show clear disturbances in response to DV from at least six weeks of age


  • Frequent illness
  • Low self-esteem and shyness
  • Fear
  • Social problems such as hitting and biting
  • Withdrawn, passive, clinging and anxious (most often girls)
  • Aggressive behaviour (most often boys)


In addition to the above characteristics:

  • Somatic complaints
  • Blaming themselves for the violence and feeling guilty
  • Levels of anxiety are often linked to that of their mothers’

Primary School Age

In addition to the above characteristics:

  • Difficulties with school work and school attendance
  • Alternatively, very high achievers/perfectionists
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Experiencing sleeping difficulties, such as nightmares
  • Poor social skills and fighting with peers
  • Rebelling against adult authority
  • Aggression and poor anger management (most often boys)
  • Anxiety and withdrawal (most often girls)
  • Depression
  • Displaying speech difficulties, such as stuttering
  • Starting to show cruelty to animals
  • Low self esteem and lack of confidence
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Regression to an earlier stage of development, such as thumb sucking and bedwetting


In addition to the above characteristics:

  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Violent delinquency
  • Misusing drugs or alcohol
  • Adolescent boys may model the perpetrator’s behaviour by assaulting their mother or siblings


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