Answers to Common Questions About Child
Abuse and Neglect
What is Happening
Guilt - feeling/responsible
Shame - this doesn't happen to my friends
Fear of expressing feelings
Confusion - Conflicted loyalties
Anger about the violence and chaos
Depressed/Helpless/Powerless to change things
Grief over family losses
Worthless or undervalued
What is Happening
• Isolated - without friends or support
• Difficulty trusting others
• Poor conflict resolution skills
• Maybe excessively socially active
• Maybe passive with others and/or seek power to be aggressor/bully
What is Happening
• Acting out or withdraw
• Overachiever or underachiever
• Refusal to go to school
• Aggressive or passive
• Rigid defenses - aloof, sarcastic, blaming, defensive
• Attention seeking behaviors
• Bedwetting, Nightmares
What is Happening Physically?
• Complaints - headaches, stomachaches, asthma, etc.
• Nervous, anxious
• Tired, lethargic
• Sick - Often with colds, flu
• Personal hygiene neglected
• Regression in development tasks - bedwetting - thumb sucking
• No reaction at times of physical pain
What is Happening Cognitively?
• They are learning to feel responsible for the violence
• Learning to blame others for their behavior
• Learning to have a low self concept
• Learning to not ask for what they need
• Learning to feel anger is bad
• Learning that it is ok to hit those you care about to get what you
Infants and Toddlers
• Developmental Delays
• Failure to Thrive - This is due to the chaotic, loud environment
• Emotional Withdrawal - Low frustration tolerance
• Physical Problems - Frequent colds, ear infections, diarrhea
Symptoms in Children Who Witness
Their Mother's Abuse
• Sleeplessness, fears of going to sleep, nightmares, dreams of danger
• Headaches, stomachaches
• Anxiety about being hurt or killed
• Fighting with others, hurting other children or animals
• Temper tantrums
• Withdrawal from other people and activities
• Listlessness, depression, little energy for life
• Feelings of loneliness and isolation
• Fears of going to school or of leaving mother alone, truancy
• Stealing, lying
• Frozen watchfulness or excessive fear around the abusive person
• Acting perfect, overachieving, looking like small adults
• Worrying, difficulties concentrating and paying attention
• Eating disorders
|QUICK FACTS ON
CHILDREN AT RISK
Between 3.3 and 10 million children live in homes where domestic
violence takes place.
In these homes, child abuse and neglect is 15 times more likely.
The risk of sexual abuse is 7 times greater for girls whose fathers
batter their mothers.
75% of boys who witness domestic violence have been found to have
demonstrable behavioral problems.
50% to 70% of men who assault their partners also abuse their children.
• Male children who witness partner violence are 3 times more likely to
abuse their partners as adults.
• Research results suggest that battering is the single most common
factor among mothers of abused children.
• In one study, 27% of domestic homicide victims were children.
• When a children is killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under age
10, 56% are under age 2.
Boys from homes where domestic violence is present are:
• 4 times more likely to abuse in a dating relationship.
• 25 times more likely to commit rape as an adult.
• 6 times more likely to commit suicide.
• Have a 74% greater chance of committing crimes against others.
• Have a 24% greater chance of committing a sexual assault as an adult.
• AND 1000 times more likely to commit violent acts against their own