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Typical Long-Term Effects of Woman Abuse on Children by Age

Each child will be affected differently by his/her exposure to woman abuse; however, the chart on the next page outlines some of the common effects. The behaviours are not exclusive to any one category and may be seen across the age groups. Various factors will determine children’s behaviour such as whether or not they have an effective support system, their personality, whether they are experiencing additional stress in their life and whether there was effective intervention.

INFANTS PRESCHOOL CHILDREN
  • Disruption in eating and sleeping routines
  • Fearful reactions to loud noises
  • Excessive crying
  • Physical neglect
  • Delays in Development
  • Low self-esteem
  • Frequent illness
  • Poor concentration
  • Eating and sleep disturbances
  • Post-traumatic stress*
  • Fear
  • Separation anxiety
  • Anger and aggression
  • Clinging
  • Withdrawing
  • Hitting, biting
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Destruction of property
  • Problems in pre-school/day care
  • Pleasing behaviour
  • Regressive behaviour (thumb sucking, bed wetting)
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AGE 5-12 YEARS EARLY ADOLESCENCE 12-14 YEARS
  • Low self-esteem
  • Frequent illness
  • Poor concentration
  • Eating and sleep disturbances
  • Post traumatic stress*
  • Fear
  • Anxiety and tension
  • Anger and aggression
  • Withdrawing
  • Bullying
  • Alcohol/Drug Abuse
  • Depression
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Self-harm
  • Perfectionism
  • Destruction of property
  • Problems in school
  • Pleasing behaviour
  • Peer relationship problems
  • Disrespect for females
  • Low self-esteem
  • Frequent illness
  • Poor concentration
  • Eating and sleep disturbances
  • Post traumatic stress*
  • Fear
  • Anxiety and tension
  • Anger and aggression
  • Bullying
  • Being abused or becoming abusive
  • Depression
  • Alcohol/drug use
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Perfectionism
  • Running away from home
  • Pleasing behaviour
  • Problems in school
  • Peer relationship problems
  • Disrespect for females
  • Feeling over-responsible
LATER ADOLESCENCE 15-18 YEARS
  • Low self-esteem
  • Frequent illness
  • Poor concentration
  • Eating and sleep disturbances
  • Post traumatic stress*
  • Fear
  • Anxiety and tension
  • Anger and aggression
  • Withdrawing
  • Bullying
  • Alcohol/Drug Abuse
  • Depression
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Self-harm
  • Perfectionism
  • Destruction of property
  • Problems in school
  • Pleasing behaviour
  • Peer relationship problems
  • Disrespect for females
  • Feeling over-responsible

*Post Traumatic Stress: Symptoms include nightmares, intrusive thoughts or images, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, tension, hyper-alert, easily startled, irritability, outbursts of anger and aggression.

This chart was adapted from Health Canada: A Handbook for Health and Social Service Providers and Educators on Children Exposed to Woman Abuse/Family Violence, 1999


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