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Domestic and family violence tears lives apart. One in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence, or both, caused by someone known to them. It affects women, children, the family and the community. And it has big personal, social and economic effects.

Effects on the victim

  • Death, illness, injury and disability — domestic and family violence is the leading cause of death, illness and disability for women aged under 45
  • Emotional and psychological trauma — the devastating impact on an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health including depression, shame, anger and suicide
  • Homelessness — nearly one-third of people in NSW seeking help from homelessness services say domestic and family violence is an issue
  • Use of alcohol and other drugs to deal with the pain
  • Physical health injuries and problems, which may not get medically treated

Effects on the family

  • Violence and the threat of violence at home creates fear and can destroy family environments and lead to the break-up of families
  • Frequent moving to avoid the abuser
  • Regular household conflict
  • Child protection or police involvement

Effects on the community

  • Children growing up without learning about positive and respectful relationships
  • Abusers going to prison
  • Higher rates of alcohol and other drug use, and mental health problems
  • Domestic and family violence is estimated to cost the NSW economy more than $4.5 billion each year

Effects on children

Of those women who experience violence, more than 50% have children in their care. Children and young people don't have to see the violence to be affected by it. Studies show that living with domestic violence can cause physical and emotional harm to children and young people in the following ways:

  • ongoing anxiety and depression
  • emotional distress
  • eating and sleeping disturbances
  • physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach aches
  • find it hard to manage stress
  • low self-esteem
  • self-harm
  • be aggressive towards friends and school mates
  • feel guilt or blame themselves for the violence
  • have trouble forming positive relationships
  • develop phobias and insomnia
  • struggle with going to school and doing school work
  • use bullying behaviour or become a target of bullying
  • difficulty concentrating
  • find it hard to solve problems
  • have less empathy and caring for others

Children and young people need to grow up in a secure and nurturing environment. Where domestic or family violence exists, the home is not safe or secure and children are scared about what might happen to them and the people they love.

Read more about the effects of domestic violence on children and young people

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