Families and Domestic Violence

Module Sections:

Social Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence creates strained relationships with family and friends. When family and friends are unable to understand the impact this has on the victim’s psyche, they may also not understand the victims’ difficulty in leaving the relationship. Family and friends may become frustrated with the victim’s decision to remain in a violent relationship. They may limit time with the victim or become increasingly irritated with the victim and may blame the victim for assaults, telling them “if you left like I told you to, this wouldn’t happen.”

Domestic violence can severely impair a parent's ability to nurture the development of their children. Mothers who are abused may be depressed or preoccupied with the violence. They may be emotionally withdrawn or numb, irritable, or have feelings of hopelessness. The result can be a parent who is less emotionally available to their children or unable to care for their children's basic needs. Battering fathers are less affectionate, less available, and less rational in dealing with their children. Studies even suggest, “battered women may use more punitive child-rearing strategies or exhibit aggression toward their children” (Newton, 2001).

Audio Companion: Families and Domestic Violence