Domestic violence or domestic abuse is defined as a pattern of behaviour in a relationship used to gain or maintain control over an intimate partner, ex-partner, close and immediate family or relatives. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, faith or class. Victims of domestic abuse can also include a child or another house member.

We have talked about types of abuse in relationships. Here, we will talk about the effects of domestic violence on teens.

Recognizing domestic violence 

Domestic and family violence:

  • Happens when one person hurts the other physically, psychologically, emotionally or verbally.
  • Has a pattern of control as the ongoing abuse stops someone from feeling free to live as they want to.
  • Domestic abuse in teenage relationships can happen in any kind of relationship- not just with partners, spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends.
  • As opposed to its name, domestic violence can happen in any location and not just in the home.
  • Is one of the signs of a dominating partner

How can a teen experience domestic violence

Domestic abuse in teenage relationships is of many types. The teens may be victims of domestic violence or witness it happening to someone else close to them, or in the community. Or they might have a friend who confides in them about the experience of violence at their home.

A teen can get affected due to domestic violence if:

  • They experience the violence and abuse themselves
  • Witness violence and its consequences
  • May hear about someone’s experience of domestic abuse
  • Play the role of the protector or supporter of someone who is impacted by violence
  • Live in a violent home or a violent environment

Effects of domestic violence on teens

Many children who are exposed to violence in the home are also victims of physical abuse. Children who witness domestic violence or are abuse victims suffer long-term physical and mental health problems.

As an adolescent, if you have witnessed domestic violence, you may feel extreme guilt for not being able to prevent domestic violence from occurring or feel like you are responsible for the family’s problems. Violence can lead a person to engage in risk-taking or self-medicating behaviour in order to clock out bad memories or numb emotional pain.

The effects of domestic violence on teens can be adverse. Domestic abuse at home can lead to teenagers experiencing:

  • Anger, aggression or lash outs
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nightmares, bet wetting and chronic tiredness
  • Anxiety, depression or panic
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harming behaviours
  • Difficulties at school
  • Avoiding social situations or home
  • Teenage Drug Addiction

Remember that abuse and violence are never your fault and are never okay. If you or someone you know experiences domestic violence, don’t hesitate to report the abuse and seek help. Keeping domestic violence a secret doesn’t protect anyone from being abused- it only allows the abuser to continue their actions.

For domestic violence helplines, click here.