The Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can include physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and economic abuse. Some common effects of domestic violence on victims and survivors can include:

  • Physical injuries

  • Changes in sleep patterns

  • Depression

  • Feelings of guilt and self-blame

  • Feelings of mistrust

  • Anxiety

  • Strain on friendships, family (increased isolation)

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in a relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. Abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone. Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.


Domestic violence is more common than most people think it is.


The CDC estimates that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men in the United States are victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

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Recent research from NSPCC

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's research from 2009 has shown that exploitation and violence in teenage relationships are more common than previously thought. So, for example:

  • 13 to 15-year-olds are as likely to experience violence as the over-16s.

  • 25 per cent of girls and 18 per cent of boys surveyed reported that they had experienced some form of physical violence.

  • Nearly 75 per cent of girls reported that they had experienced some sort of emotional violence from partners.

  • Over 75 per cent of girls with an older partner (in particular a "much older" one) reported that they had experienced physical violence.

Alarming facts about how domestic violence impacts kids


  • 63% of all boys, age 11-20, who commit murder kill the man who was abusing their mother.

  • 75% of boys who are present when their mothers are beaten were later identified as having demonstrable behavior problems.

  • Children from homes characterized by domestic violence are five to seven times more likely to experience significant psychological problems relative to children in the general population.

  • Domestic violence exposed children are four times more likely to visit the school nurse.

  • More than half of school age children in domestic violence shelters show clinical levels of anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Witnessing violence as a child is associated with adult reports of depression, trauma-related symptoms and low self-esteem among women and trauma-related symptoms among men.

  • Children in homes where domestic violence occurs are physically abused or seriously neglected at a rate 1500% higher than the national average in the general population.

  • 3.3 million children witness domestic violence each year in the US

Supporting A Friend or Loved One


If someone you know is being abused, there are many ways you can help. Believe the person you care about when they share their experiences. Tell the person you care about that it is not their fault. Empower your friend or loved one to make their own decisions. Learn more about domestic violence. Be there for the person you care about by listening, sharing information about domestic violence and just being a good friend.