Studies show that children who witness a domestic violence attack grow up feeling isolated and vulnerable. Witnessing an incident can mean more than just seeing an attack happen. It can also mean a child hearing threats or fighting noises of an abusive situation, or observing the aftermath such as blood, bruises, crying, torn clothing, and broken items around the house. All of these can have long term effects on the child of an abusive relationship.
Exposed children can become more fearful or anxious when put into certain situations. This can result in keeping a secret from the rest of their family, whom could have helped the victim otherwise. In some cases, the burden of keeping this undisclosed information can cause adolescents to blame themselves for the abuse they witnessed and think that if they would have told someone or done something about it, then the abuse would not have continued. In extreme cases, children can become emotionally, physically, or even psychologically abandoned.
Domestic violence lawsuits may result in limited visitation for parents if their child has been affected. The option of having police present to be protected from an alleged abuser can be given in court. Children are often affected by domestic violence because the abuse must be committed by a family, spouse, parents, those who have children in common, or have been or are in a dating or engagement relationship.