Knowledge and Resource Hub
04 January 2018

Children's exposure to domestic and family violence: Key issues and responses

This paper reviews research on the effects of domestic and family violence on children's behaviour, schooling, cognitive development and mental and physical wellbeing.  Significant numbers of Australian children are exposed to domestic and family violence which has negative impacts on children's physical and mental wellbeing, development and schooling. Family violence often co-occurs with various types of child maltreatment, including sexual abuse. It is also the leading cause of children's homelessness. Therapeutic responses to child victims should be trauma related and also work with the non-offending parent and child to strengthen their attachment.  Primary prevention is also crucial. There is evidence for the effectiveness of school-based programs which help children to be critical of gender norms and violence-supportive attitudes and give them the skills to form healthy and respectful adult relationships.