Domestic violence isn’t something that impacts only the lives of those directly involved. It has far-reaching effects on those in its vicinity, especially kids.
In North Carolina, domestic violence is taken very seriously and someone can face some serious jail time, fines, and other consequences if they are convicted of domestic violence crimes. There is more to domestic violence than penalties, however; there is also the way it can impact children who are mixed up in it.
Here’s what you need to know about how domestic violence impacts children and their development.
What is Domestic Violence in North Carolina?
Domestic Violence in North Carolina is defined as one of a variety of violent acts that are perpetrated between people who share a personal relationship. Personal relationships include both former and current spouses, people who live together or who have lived together in the past, parents and children, grandparents, those who share a child, and both former and current household members.
Perpetrating a violent action toward anyone with whom you have one of the relationships is considered domestic violence. You commit domestic violence, according to the law, by intentionally causing harm to another or attempting to, putting them in fear of bodily harm or harassment to the point that it causes emotional distress, and committing sex-related crimes such as rape or sexual battery.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in North Carolina
If you are found guilty of domestic violence, then you can face jail time and fines for the particular crime of which you are accused. You may also have to undergo domestic violence treatment, complete rehabilitation or counseling, complete a Drug Treatment Court Program, abstain from drinking alcohol, and be monitored for alcohol use, among other things.
How Domestic Violence Impacts Children
Children who witness domestic violence can suffer serious repercussions as a result. They are at higher risk for health problems and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. They are also more predisposed to being obese as adults and suffer from health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. They are more likely to have poor self-esteem as well.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues with children who witness domestic violence is that they get trapped in its cycle. As adults, they may enter into abusive relationships or risk being abusive to others themselves.
In the short term, children can also suffer issues no matter what stage of development they are at. For example, preschool-aged children who witness domestic violence may start to regress, wetting the bed even though they’re potty trained, or increase the frequency with which they cry or whine.
School-aged kids may blame themselves for the abuse they’re witnessing and it can have a huge impact on self-esteem. It often leads to other issues, such as problems at school and even physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach aches.
Teens who witness domestic violence may skip school or fight with friends and family. They may take part in behaviors that are considered high risk such as using drugs or alcohol or having unprotected sex.
Domestic violence is an issue that impacts an entire community. If you’re struggling in your relationships, there is help available. If you’re accused of domestic violence yourself, it’s not too late to reach out for help, either.