Children Witnessing Violence

sad little girl sitting on floor

A Canadian population survey indicates that 70% of children who witnessed spousal violence saw or heard assaults against their mothers.

This is not surprising given that women suffer more serious and repeated spousal violence than do men, and incur more serious consequences as a result of domestic violence. Factors contributing to the dynamic of violence against women in our society are rooted in gender inequalities and other systems of oppression.  Young people have taught us that they are intimately and actively involved in the domestic violence occurring at home.  They interpret, predict, assess their roles in causing a fight, worry, about what will happen, and engage in problem solving.

Children exposed to domestic violence may…

  • See or hear their mother assaulted or demeaned,
  • Learn what happened to their mother,
  • Experience the aftermath of violence in their home,
  • Be used by an abusive parent as part of the abuse,
  • See or hear conflict and abuse during access exchanges or visits,
  • See their father abuse his new partner during visits,
  • Be denied necessities (eg. economic abuse of mother deprives child).


children living in Ontario’s shelters for abused women in 2017/2018


children are exposed to violence against their mothers