Family Violence Has Adverse Effects On Children

Children are affected by the stress of witnessing family violence. That is why our law now includes exposing a child to violence as an act of violence in itself.


Research tells us there is vey good reason for this. Physical changes can occur in the brain of children who are constantly in a heightened state of alert, which can result in a child losing the ability to regulate their own emotions.


Other long-term effects include risks of mental and physical health problems, and cognitive impairment in adulthood. There is a risk that the children of violent parents will have poor social skills, poor capacity to form relationships, and more aggression and anti-social behaviour.


Reverse The Effects Of Violence With Early Intervention

The good news is that if one parent is emotionally available and can love and support the children that will buffer the effects of violence. The plasticity of the brain responds well to cognitive therapy and nurturing. Early intervention is the key to reversal of the effects of violence on young brains. But it is also important that exposure of children to trauma be time limited for them to avoid long term effects.


That means that violence has to stop and the matter of child custody may be considered.


Whether that is by removing the offender or providing safe haven for the victims, our society owes it to protect both adult and child victims of abusive and violent family members. We all need to be prepared to vote for funding early intervention, rather than crisis intervention after so much damage is done.

~Marguerite Picard, Family D