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The effects of domestic abuse on a victim and their children, and the impact on their health are enormous.

The following list highlights some of the effects on a victim’s physical, sexual, emotional and mental health. It also identifies the impact that the abuse can have on their relationships with others and their ability to make and sustain social contact and family and work commitments.

  • Fear for life, fear for children’s lives.
  • Self-doubt, self-blame and loss of confidence and self-esteem, shame, embarrassment.
  • Isolation from family and friends, decreasing or no social contacts.
  • Frequent absences from work, poor concentration, inability to fulfil work role.
  • Distorted sense of reality.
  • Lowered ability to relate to their children, increasingly punitive parenting and perceived neglect of children.
  • Use/increasing use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, post-natal depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, physical effects of stress, self-harm, suicide.
  • Physical effects – from bruising to broken bones, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, and death.
  • Gynaecological effects – pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, recurrent infections.
  • Obstetric effects – miscarriage, foetal injury and foetal death, pre-term delivery, small-for-dates babies.

This list is indicative rather than fully comprehensive and many other presenting conditions may be as the result of this form of abuse.

Children exposed to domestic abuse may also develop emotional, behavioural, developmental and academic problems. All children will have their own unique experiences and cope with them in different ways.

Some of the effects on children and young people can include:

  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Nightmares
  • Bedwetting
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harming
  • Depression
  • Becoming involved in the abuse (defending the victim / being encouraged to abuse the victim by the perpetrator)
  • Being physically abused by the perpetrator
  • Being aggressive
  • Low self-esteem

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the effects listed above, visit our Help & Support page to see how you can get help.


A 12 week programme for
children and their mothers
in Bracknell Forest who have previously been exposed to domestic abuse. 

For more information or to make
a referral, contact the Behaviour Support Team on 01344 354250
or download the flyer.


If you wish to join a support
group attended by others who have had similar experiences,
you can contact: 

Berkshire Women's Aid
on 0118 950 4003. Click here for further information about their Choices Programme. 

Bracknell Forest Children's Centres on 01344 312852. Click here for further information about the Freedom Programme.

130,000 children are living in households with a high risk of domestic abuse

Women experiencing domestic abuse are up to 15 times more likely than other women to misuse alcohol

Women who report domestic abuse are up to nine times more likely than other women to misuse drugs (including prescription drugs)

On average, 7 women a month are killed by a current or former partner

Domestic abuse has repeatedly been identified as a major factor leading to death in pregnancy and childbirth

Women's Aid