The damaging impact of domestic violence upon children is well known as it presents them with confusing role models and generates relationship prototypes.

This means that children internalise a belief system in which domestic violence is at least partly the norm and to be expected. It also creates helplessness and guilt in a child who witnesses a loved person being hurt or is unable to prevent this.

Children can feel to blame and such experiences damage the development of a positive sense of self worth and self esteem. The child may expect intimate relationships to be abusive and indeed consciously or unconsciously believe they deserve nothing better.

Children exposed to domestic violence are vulnerable to repeated abusive relationships throughout adult life as perpetrators or victims.


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