Every person is unique and the effects of family violence vary. Below are some examples of the many lasting impacts family violence can have on the people who experience it.
Physical violence can result in bruising, scarring, and acute or chronic pain. Women may experience reproductive health problems, including problems during pregnancy and an increased risk of miscarriage. In Australia, family violence contributes more to death, disability and illness in women aged 18-44 than any other risk factor and, on average, at least one woman is killed each week by her partner or ex-partner.
Psychological and emotional effects
People who experience family violence can experience feelings of fear, shame and guilt, loss and grief, powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness. This can impact on their mental health and can lead to a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder as well as drug and alcohol misuse or suicide. A mother’s experience of family violence can impact her ability to parent effectively and damage her relationship with her children.
Social and economic effects
People who experience family violence often have a low sense of self-worth, less confidence and are more likely to experience social isolation. They may lose their jobs and have to pay for medical expenses, legal costs, housing and relocation costs which can lead to poverty. Family violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women and children in Australia.
The effects on children
Children living in homes where there is family violence are affected through witnessing the behaviour, as well as through experiencing abuse themselves. A mother’s experience of family violence can impact her ability to protect her child from trauma and damage the maternal-child attachment relationship. This can have lasting impacts on children as secure attachment relationships are important for healthy childhood development as well as healthy adult functioning later in life.
Worried about your behaviour
If you are worried that your behaviour might be affecting your partner, ex-partner, your children or another family member in any of the ways discussed above, now is the time for you to take action.