Children in Abusive Homes: The Effects and the Stats

Children are often the unintended victims of battering. Children in violent homes face dual threats: the threat of witnessing traumatic events and the threat of physical assault.

Children of abused women may:

  • Be injured during an incident of parental violence
  • Be traumatized by fear for their mother and their own helplessness in protecting her
  • Blame themselves for not preventing the violence or for causing it
  • Be abused or neglected themselves


The risk of child abuse is significantly higher when partner assault is also reported.

  • Nearly half of men who abuse their female partners also abuse their children
  • Nationally. 75% of battered women say their children are also battered. Another study found that one-third of the families reporting a violent incident between the parents also reported the presence of child abuse
  • Women being battered are less able to care for their children. Eight times as many women report using physical discipline on their children while with their batterer than when living alone or in a non-battering relationship


  • Over 3 million children are at risk of exposure to parental violence each year
  • Children from violent families can provide clinicians with detailed accounts of abusive incidents their parents never realized they had witnessed

Courts and Communities: Confronting Violence in the Family, State Justice Institute Conference, San Francisco, CA March 25-28, 1993