- Either parent may directly abuse children
- Indirect injury to children can occur
- Children may be neglected as a direct or indirect result of the domestic violence
- Children witnessing domestic violence can be emotionally affected in a variety of ways.
It can be difficult and painful for children to witness domestic violence or know that their parent is being harmed. The emotional damage caused by this can be long lasting. Many abused and neglected children do not become victims or perpetrators as adults; however, many men who are in batterer intervention programs report witnessing the abuse of their mothers. Additionally, abused and neglected children are at greater risk for exhibiting delinquent, violent, and criminal behavior.
If you are being abused by your partner and have children you may have additional worries. You may wonder what will happen to your children if you try to leave the relationship. You may be concerned about having enough money to support your children if you leave this relationship. And, you may be afraid that your children will be taken away from you if you ask for help or your partner may have threatened to take the children from you if you try to leave. It is not DCF policy to automatically remove children from parents who are victims of domestic violence. Situations will be looked at individually and decisions based on the safety and well-being of the children. You can ask questions about this process by calling your local DCF office, calling the Domestic Violence Unit Consultation line or talking with an advocate you are working with. For more information on the impact domestic violence can have on children go to The Boston Medical Center's Child Witness to Violence Project at http://www.childwitnesstoviolence.org/ .
If you feel like you need further assistance you can:
- Ask you social worker, and/or their supervisor to look into additional domestic violence service.
- Call a battered women's program to request assistance from an advocate in dealing with your concerns.
- Call the Domestic Violence Unit Consultation Line at 617-748-2335.
- Call the DCF Ombudsman's office at 617-748-2444
This information is provided by the Department of Children and Families.