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Signs of domestic abuse in children and young people

Children living in households where domestic violence is happening are identified as "at risk"  of harm suffered by seeing or hearing ill treatment of others.  This would include witnessing domestic abuse.

Children are individuals and may respond to witnessing abuse in different ways. Some of the effects may include:

  • they may become anxious or depressed
  • they may have difficulty sleeping
  • they may complain of physical symptoms such as tummy aches
  • they may start to wet their bed
  • they may behave as though they are much younger than they are
  • they may have problems with school
  • they may become aggressive or they may internalise their distress and withdraw from other people
  • they may have a lowered sense of self-worth
  • older children may begin to play truant or start to use alcohol or drugs
  • they may begin to self-harm by taking overdoses or cutting themselves

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

If you are concerned that a child may be experiencing domestic abuse you must follow the Derby & Derbyshire safeguarding children procedures.

Find a copy of the safeguarding children’s procedures on the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership website.