Removing Children from Domestic Abuse
Children who live in a household where domestic abuse is a part of their everyday reality are at severe risk of developing a distorted sense of the concept of healthy relationships, are often victims of physical and emotional abuse or neglect, and are more likely to develop and exhibit negative behaviors. It is imperative that teachers, neighbors, family members, and other individuals involved with these children learn to identify the signs of domestic violence, and immediately reach out to the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline to get immediate assistance for these child survivors.
The manifestation of negative behaviors varies with age and onset of the child’s first witnessing the domestic abuse. He or she may experience anxiety or depression. He or she may exhibit bullying behaviors or become completely withdrawn. He or she may begin to lie, cheat, steal, or be completely self-deprecating, believing that he or she is not wanted, he or she is unloved, or that he or she serve no purpose in life. He or she may develop frequent headaches, stomach aches, or other aches and pains. The truth is that the longer children remain in an abusive household, the more damage is done to their perception of appropriate family dynamics. The odds also increase that they will grow to perpetuate the cycle of violence within their own family.
Abuse and violence are learned behaviors. Removing children from an abusive household is the first positive step on the road to affecting change. While some children survive witnessing abusive relationships with little trauma, most go on to exhibit this negative influence in the development of their own relationships later in life.
More good than harm comes from removing children from a violent household situation, and let’s face it; your children deserve much better in life. By relocating them to a safe place, the healing process can begin. It may be exceedingly difficult for you to formulate an escape plan from your abusive partner, but protecting yourself and your children from domestic abuse should be an absolute priority.
The sooner children are removed from a domestically abusive home, the sooner they can begin to receive counseling which will help them become stronger and more empowered. With appropriate assistance, they will learn to identify and foster healthy relationships, and these lessons will carry them much further in life than continuing to experience or witness domestic abuse.
Improved health, better interpersonal skills, and improved behaviors have all been observed in children who have been recently removed from an abusive household with the non-abusive parent. When children feel safe and protected, they are more receptive to learning and fostering trust in others. If you suspect that a child is living in a home where there is domestic abuse, it is your obligation to find help. The domestic abuse hotline Florida is the first step you can take to protect your children and begin the healing process.