The impact of domestic violence and abuse

Impact of domestic violence and abuse on women and children

The impact of physical, sexual and psychological violence can result in a range of negative and harmful effects on the health, well-being and outcomes in life of women and their children.

Physical and sexual abuse can cause short term, long term and permanent injuries or conditions. Psychological abuse can lead to a variety of problems such as low self esteem; disturbed patterns of eating and sleeping; lack of confidence; depression; extreme anxiety; alcohol and substance misuse; self harm and suicide.

The social and economic consequences of violence can include homelessness, loss or separation from family friends, isolation, loss of employment, debt and destitution.

For more information, read the impact of abuse on women (PDF 1MB).

The impact of domestic violence and abuse on children and young people

Children are often the hidden victims in domestic violence and abuse. The needs of children and young people can be overlooked if we do not make specific efforts to identify them.

Around 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic abuse (NSPCC, 2011).

A third of children witnessing domestic violence also experienced another form of abuse (NSPCC, 2011).

The correlation between domestic violence and abuse and safeguarding children is widely recognised and accepted. Domestic violence is an indicator of child abuse and has featured significantly in child protection proceedings and serious case reviews. Children are affected by domestic violence in a number of ways, both physically and emotionally.

All children and young people witnessing domestic violence are being emotionally abused. Understandably, children and young people who have or are experiencing domestic violence will feel many different emotions. Each child or young person will deal with their emotions differently.

If you are concerned about a child or young person, contact Leeds Children’s Social Work Service on 0113 222 4403.

Further information

For more information visit www.thehideout.org.uk - a website developed by Women’s Aid to help children and young people to understand domestic violence and abuse. You can also read about Impact of abuse on children (PDF 1MB).