Domestic violence entails an experience of psychological, sexual, or physical abuse in a home setting, and is used to develop control and power over another individual, either mother or father. Children are among the most affected victims of domestic violence in homes. This is due to the fact that children who are in abusive homes, despite the parents thinking that they do not get affected directly with the violence between the parents; they get affected due to their developmental stage that cannot enable them to interpret the cause of violence in a more cognitive manner like in the case of an adult. Despite the increasing awareness on the issue of domestic violence in the society, children continue suffering in silence at their abusive homes. These children are often referred to as the forgotten victims. In cases where the parents who experience abusive attitude tend to seek for professional help, they tend to forget to give the children the needed guidance and counseling that later in life has negative impacts. Children are not only affected by witnessing the domestic violence but also by living in the environment whereby their mother is abused; this is primarily due to the strong social connection between the mother and child (Sterne, 2010).
Research shows that in the United States, three women are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands each day. In addition, women experience over two million injuries as a result of violence and abusive relationships. Growing up in an environment with so much domestic violence is a terrifying and traumatic experience; it has several negative impacts on every aspect of life of the children in their growth and development. First, children tend to be so cold due to the installed fear in them. They are afraid of the father and may pick up hate or become aggressive to him as they grow up, and on the other hand, they tend to develop trauma and anxiety for the victim of the domestic violence who in many cases is their biological mother. Second, the children can be manipulated to have a bias with either the mother or the father, an aspect that leads to social breakdowns. In addition, the children are used to threaten the victim of violence to ensure that they submit to more abuse. These threats include such as when the abuser is threatening to kill the children or report the victim in order to be the custodian of the children. Finally, children may end up being harmed or injured in the process of helping the victim or trying to break up a fight (Hanna, 2000).
Children, who have lived or live in homes that are faced with domestic violence, can be helped by taking them to a psychotherapist, who is principally designed for children and mother issues; they are of much impact in increasing the quality of parenting and positive attitudes among these children as they grow up. Most of the abusive husbands have much concern on the effects of the domestic violence on children, and for this reason, it is advisable to persuade the perpetrators of violence to stop the violence if they clearly understand the effects it can have to the children. A safe and separate environment for the child, where he or she has a safe, nurturing, and stable relationship with the caregivers, can be of much impact in helping the child to overcome the coldness, fear, trauma, and the stress associated with the pasts (Sterne, 2010).
Children who live or have ever been in a home with domestic violence do not feel secure and loved, despite their parents being proficient at them. In order to help this type of children, the first step is to understand the negative impact that it has on them through their growth and development stages. For the well - being of the child’s future, it is vital to look at the several ways of helping the child and to decide whether the children should remain in homes with domestic violence or not (Mullender, 2002).