Children Unable to Cope due to Trauma

When a child experiences or witnesses any form of emotional or physical abuse, their trust can become shattered. Trauma survivors may have trouble trusting their close family relationships or friendships. The symptoms of trauma can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving. These problems may affect the way the survivor acts with others.

Traumatized children do not believe the world is safe or that adults will protect them. They often live in fear of what could happen next. All children need calm and caring caregivers, but especially traumatized children. Remaining calm when your child is agitated and teaching calming techniques reduces the anxiety and emotional arousal that affects their mood, sleep, and concentration.

Children need to learn that adults can be dependable, caring, patient and loving following a divorce, bullying incident or child abuse. Parents can become their children’s secure base by being emotionally available, sensitive, responsive and helpful. Parents can learn when not to push and when to hold back. Most of all, parents need to feel confident that they can help their child move through their healing process.

Here are 8 steps to help your child heal from trauma and learn to build trust again:

1.Talk with your child: communication builds trust and is a constructive coping skill; find times they are likely to talk; start the conversation – let them know you are interested.

2.Listen: listen to their thoughts, feelings, and point of view with empathy – don’t interrupt, judge or criticize; this opens the door to a healing relationship.

3. Accept feelings: anxiety, irritability, anger and depression are normal reactions to loss and trauma and will subside over time in a safe environment.

4. Be patient and supportive: it takes time to come to terms with trauma and grieve losses; each child’s path to recovery is unique; offer comfort and reassurance and be available when they are ready.

5. Encourage healthy expression: children act-out distress negatively without constructive outlets; foster the use of talking, art, play, music, sports, journaling and other healthy methods.

6. Maintain consistency: structure and routines enhance security and stability; provide appropriate rules, expectations, boundaries and consequences.

7. Promote a sense of control: children feel helpless and powerless in response to trauma; help them believe they can successfully deal with challenges via constructive activities (e.g., hobbies, sports, clubs, volunteering).

8. Make home a safe place: your home should be a “safe haven,” a place of comfort, security and peace; stress and chaos provokes traumatic reactions; minimize conflict and discipline with calmness and love.

Rebuilding trust takes time, patience and a great deal of strength on every parent’s part. Remember your dreams for your child can be rebuilt. They just may look a bit different.

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Victoria Police Discrepancy in actual Reporting Family Violence

A copy of a Domestic Violence Survivors Victoria Police report & actually what happen. The discrepancies are outstanding. This is 2012.
LEAP ENTRY:
REPORT BY M/36918 SSKUNI (have no idea what that means but i took notes of every leap entry and i am aware you can check the authenticity of information your end).Reporting member 36918 Const Govic sskuni st kilda uniform committed between hours 2330 02/03/2012 and 2350 hours FRI
there is a remark FAMILY VIOLENCE – (deleted comment)
In regards to (deleted), that is where I was born. I have never been involved in any criminal activity or I dont even know where (deleted) street is. So I do not know what relevance this is. I will be contacting my mother (who still resides there) to ask where wills street is.
anyway back to report…
THE RESPONDENT AND AFFECTED FAMILY MEMBER HAVE BEEN IN A RELATIONSHIP FOR APPROX 10 YEARS AND HAVE TWO CHILDREN TOGETHER. ONE MALE AGED 7 AND ONE FEMALE AGED 6. RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN STRAINED SINCE CHRISTMAS 2011, (note, in western australia I recieved a black eye and a fractured hand at christmas 2011 it is in mypolice report dated 25.09.2012). THE AFM HAS APPROACHED THE RSP IN THE LOUNGE ROOM AND BEGAN A VERBAL ARGUMENT WANTING TO KNOW TO THE STATUS OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP. AFM WAS MODERATELY AFFECTED BY ALCOHOL. BOTH PARTIES HAVE BEGUN TO ARGUE AT THIS POINT. NO VIOLENCE OR THREATS OF VIOLENCE MADE BY EITHER PARTY. BOTH PARTIES HAVE THEN CONTACTED POLICE. POLICE ATTENDED AND RSP HAS AGREED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE FOR THE NIGHT AND STAY WITH FAMILY. BOTH CHILDREN WERE ASLEEP AND DID NOT WITNESS THE INCIDENT. POLICE HAVE NIL SAFTEY CONCERNS AND INFORMAL REFERRALS MADE ON THIS OCCASSION.
END OF REPORT
Ok, this is what actually happened. He was yelling all day, he was in a filthy mood, I was avoiding him. Eventually he punched me in the face and threatened to kill me and the children. I rang a support person, who is 80 years old,(might i add her grandaughter is a police officer detective i think and can vouch for her grandmothers religious and sound mind, and tells the truth. She provided an affidavit of the facts to police, as well as witnessed the polices involvement.) and informed her he had hit me and threatened to kill me. She told me to get the children away from him and me, and ring the police immediately. She got out of bed and came to my home immediately. She witnessed all the police involvement that night.
So I get the children into the front bedroom, barracked the door with furniture, he was on the other side of door screaming and carrying on and I rang police
the 000 call states (i am sobbing in the background and you can hear the children crying) That I am barracked in my bedroom that I had been punched in the face, that he was threatening to kill me etc. They kept me on the line until police arrived. Six police might i add.
I had not been drinking, I had taken panadol forte for the pain. My face was swollen, and I ended up losing a tooth. I already had bruises on my upper arms from other injuries earlier that week, and my hand was swollen due to another injury about six days earlier. The children were upset and clinging to me, and I got them into my bed to sleep. When my friend turned up she did all the negotiation with the police, knew about all the history of violence, and made them remove him from the house. That simple. She also was aware that the children had seen everything, and she encouraged me to stay in one room with the children and keep them carm rather than seeing the police officers etc.
Descrepancy? I think so. That is a safety notice 100%. He broke back into the house the next day and assualted me again. I fled with children to my friends house (same person as above).

Signs of being in a Psychological Abusive Relationship

Is it possible that you are being abused and not even know it? Abuse is not always as obvious as being hit or shoved, called degrading names or cussed out. In fact, it can very well be underhanded or subtle. You may find yourself feeling confused about the relationship, off balance or like you are “walking on eggshells” all the time. This is the kind of abuse that often sneaks up on you as you become more entrenched in the relationship. I am talking here about psychological abuse, which is also known as mental or emotional abuse.

Psychological abuse occurs when a person in the relationship tries to control information available to another person with intent to manipulate that person’s sense of reality or their view of what is acceptable and not acceptable. Psychological abuse often contains strong emotionally manipulative content and threats designed to force the victim to comply with the abuser’s wishes.  All abuse takes a severe toll on self-esteem. The abused person starts feeling helpless and possibly even hopeless. In addition, most mental abusers are adept at convincing the victim that the abuse is his/her fault. Somehow, the victim is responsible for what happened.

A more sophisticated form of psychological abuse is often referred to as “gaslighting.” This happens when false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity. Examples may range simply from the abuser denying that previous abusive incidents ever occurred to staging bizarre events with the intention of confusing the victim. I listened to a client tell me that her husband denied an affair after his she found a racy email to another woman on his computer and confronted him. The husband vehemently denied this and when so far as to send an email to his tech guy asking how his account could have been hacked and to fix the problem!

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A common form of emotional abuse is “I love you, but…” That may sound nice at first, yet it is both a disguised criticism and a threat. It indicates, “I love you now, but if you don’t stop this or that, my love will be taken away.” It is a constant jab that slowly strips away your self-esteem. Abusers get a lot of reinforcement out of using the word “love” as it seems to become a magic word to control you.  

Abusers at times do what I call “throw you a bone.” I have heard countless times from clients that their partner was “nice,” “complimentary,” “gave me a gift,” etc. as if it should erase all of the bad treatment. You need to understand that this is part of the dynamic and cycle of abuse. In fact, it is rare for abusive relationships to not have these (often intense) moments of  feeling good, overly sincere apologies or attempts to make up for the bad behavior. The victim clings to hope when these moments occur and the abuser knows this. 

Psychological abuse can look like:

  1. Humiliating or embarrassing you
  2. Constant put-downs
  3. Hypercriticism
  4. Refusing to communicate
  5. Ignoring or excluding you
  6. Extramarital affairs
  7. Provocative behavior with opposite sex
  8. Use of sarcasm and unpleasant tone of voice
  9. Unreasonable jealousy
  10. Extreme moodiness
  11. Mean jokes or constantly making fun of you
  12. Saying “I love you but…”
  13. Saying things like “If you don’t _____, I will_____”
  14. Domination and control
  15. Withdrawal of affection
  16. Guilt trips
  17. Making everything your fault
  18. Isolating you from friends and family
  19. Using money to control
  20. Constant calling or texting when you are not with him/her
  21. Threatening to commit suicide if you leave

It is important to remember is that it is absolutely not your fault. Abusers are expert manipulators with a knack for getting you to believe that the way you are being treated is your fault. These people know that everyone has insecurities, and they use those insecurities against you. Abusers can convince you that you do not deserve better treatment or that they are treating you this way to “help” you. Some abusers even act quite charming and nice in public so that others have a good impression of them. In private is a different story, which is also quite baffling.

If you see yourself in these words, know that there is little hope for your relationship to improve. It would take a monumental amount of insight and motivation for the abuser to change and unfortunately, this is rarely the case. If you are in an abusive relationship, I urge you to get out and with professional help if needed. Often the first step in leaving the abuser is obtaining counseling just to rebuild your esteem so that you can leave. I particularly want you to know that you may “love” this person, but that they do not “love” you or respect you. I assure you that in time you will get over this person if you break it off. You will be making the right decision…no looking back.

Emotional Abuse Does not show Scars

Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mentalabuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Emotional abuse is just one form of abuse that people can experience in a relationship. Though emotional abuse doesn’t leave physical scars, it can have a huge impact on your confidence and self-esteem. There are a couple of different types of emotional abuse and it might not be noticeable at first. However, if you are being emotionally abused there are a number of things you can do to get support.

Emotional abuse is elusive. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it’s happening.

It can be more harmful than physical abusebecause it can undermine what we think about ourselves. It can cripple all we are meant to be as we allow something untrue to define us. Emotional abuse can happen between parent and child, husband and wife, among relatives and between friends.

The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others.

In the following areas, ask these questions to see if you are abusing or being abused:

  1. Humiliation, degradation, discounting, negating. judging, criticizing:
    • Does anyone make fun of you or put you down in front of others?
    • Do they tease you, use sarcasm as a way to put you down or degrade you?
    • When you complain do they say that “it was just a joke” and that you are too sensitive?
    • Do they tell you that your opinion or feelings are “wrong?”
    • Does anyone regularly ridicule, dismiss, disregard your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, and feelings?
  2. Domination, control, and shame:
    • Do you feel that the person treats you like a child?
    • Do they constantly correct or chastise you because your behavior is “inappropriate?”
    • Do you feel you must “get permission” before going somewhere or before making even small decisions?
    • Do they control your spending?
    • Do they treat you as though you are inferior to them?
    • Do they make you feel as though they are always right?
    • Do they remind you of your shortcomings?
    • Do they belittle your accomplishments, your aspirations, your plans or even who you are?
    • Do they give disapproving, dismissive, contemptuous, or condescending looks, comments, and behavior?
  3. Accusing and blaming, trivial and unreasonable demands or expectations, denies own shortcomings:
    • Do they accuse you of something contrived in their own minds when you know it isn’t true?
    • Are they unable to laugh at themselves?
    • Are they extremely sensitive when it comes to others making fun of them or making any kind of comment that seems to show a lack of respect?
    • Do they have trouble apologizing?
    • Do they make excuses for their behavior or tend to blame others or circumstances for their mistakes?
    • Do they call you names or label you?
    • Do they blame you for their problems or unhappiness?
    • Do they continually have “boundary violations” and disrespect your valid requests?
  4. Emotional distancing and the “silent treatment,” isolation, emotional abandonment or neglect:
    • Do they use pouting, withdrawal or withholding attention or affection?
    • Do they not want to meet the basic needs or use neglect or abandonment as punishment?
    • Do they play the victim to deflect blame onto you instead of taking responsibility for their actions and attitudes?
    • Do they not notice or care how you feel?
    • Do they not show empathy or ask questions to gather information?
  5. Codependence and enmeshment:
    • Does anyone treat you not as a separate person but instead as an extension of themselves?
    • Do they not protect your personal boundaries and share information that you have not approved?
    • Do they disrespect your requests and do what they think is best for you?
    • Do they require continual contact and haven’t developed a healthy support network among their own peers?

United Nations has Grave Concerns of Childrens Human Rights being Breached in Australia

“Every child has the right to live free from violence, but the confronting reality for many children in Australia is that domestic and family violence is a very real part of their everyday lives,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

“This roundtable seeks to better understand the experiences of children exposed to such violence, and to ensure the voices of children are an explicit focus in our broader national conversation about domestic and family violence.”

Prevalence estimates from the 2012 Personal Safety Survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics also show that children’s exposure to family and domestic violence is widespread in Australia and is predominantly associated with violence against women. According to 2012 estimates, 17% of women and 5% of men in Australia over 15 years had experienced violence by a partner. Much of the violence was seen or heard by children in their care.

“Children and young people have directly raised with me the importance of living free from domestic and family violence,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

“We need to listen to their voices, learn from their experiences and develop the right prevention and reporting measures to keep all children safe.”

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has previously expressed grave concerns about the exposure of Australian children to family and domestic violence.

“The right of every child to live free from all forms of violence is one of the fundamental principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Commissioner Mitchell said.

“The Convention also requires the protection of children who are exposed to and witness family and domestic violence.

“We as a nation need to do far more to ensure we are meeting our international obligations and are, most importantly, protecting our kids from being subject to violence.”

While there is no national data on the proportion of child protection notifications that relate to family and domestic violence, it is estimated that family and domestic violence is present in 55% of physical abuses and 40% of sexual abuses against children.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has reported during 2013–2014 there were 40,844 substantiated child protection notifications in Australia, with 40% for emotional abuse, 19% for physical abuse and 14% for sexual abuse.

As part of the national consultation, submissions have also been sought from children’s rights experts and community organisations. Findings of the roundtable and national consultation will be the subject of the Children’s Rights Report 2015. 

If you need support, contact Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or www.kidshelp.com.au

this pubilication was from the Human Right Coimmission May 2015 Publication

Domestic Family Violence can affect Children in many ways

How does domestic and family violence affect children?

Understanding the trauma that domestic and family violence can cause is an important step in supporting children who are affected.


When children live with domestic and family violence, they are experiencing trauma. It can be trauma that is ongoing and long-lasting. Domestic and family violence can have impacts on health, development and wellbeing. The effects build up over time, and can impact on every aspect of their life.

Domestic and family violence can affect children in many ways

Children are affected if they:

  • Witness the violence against their mother or carer, or see their fear
  • Hear it in another room, or have to hide or run from abuse
  • Have to tippy-toe around an abuser to try to prevent outbursts
  • Have to comfort, clean up or take additional responsibilities for siblings/carers following violence
  • Are victimised for supporting their mother or carer
  • Are encouraged to join in with verbal abuse or contempt for their mother or carer
  • Cannot be cared for properly as the abuse is either directly preventing it, or is causing poor mental health and exhaustion for the carer 
  • Experience disrupted attachment with their mother or primary carer as infants, or the normal co-regulation of emotions between a mother and infant is disrupted
  • Are abused themselves. People who abuse their partners or ex-partners often abuse their children as well
  • Have an acquired brain injury from physical abuse
  • Are forced to have ongoing contact with someone of whom they are scared or whose presence is a ‘trauma trigger’, following previous incidents where the children have been traumatised

The impacts of domestic and family violence are complex

When children experience domestic and family violence, it can affect their:

  • Behaviours – they can act out, over-react, be hostile, impulsive, aggressive or defiant. They can also withdraw or dissociate or run away. All these behaviours can be normal to children who have been traumatised by family or domestic violence, and do not mean the children have ‘disorders’. Drug and alcohol use can be a problem with older children.
  • Development – normal development can be impaired. They can look like they are regressing or acting younger than their age. This can be a subconscious way of trying to get to a state where they are safe and secure. It can also be a result of the harm to the brain’s development caused by exposure to trauma.
  • Relationships – they may avoid closeness and push people away. Children may also attach to peers or adults who may be unsafe for them, to try to develop an alternative secure base, if home feels insecure.
  • Emotions – children often feel fearful, stressed, depressed, angry, anxious or ashamed. Emotional security is the foundation of healthy relationships later in life. This security can be damaged if attachment between the mother/carer and baby is disrupted by domestic violence. 
  • Learning – they may not be able to concentrate at school because they are constantly on the lookout for danger. This can be subconscious. Detentions, missed school and frequent changes of schools can also affect learning.
  • Cognitions – children may have low self-esteem, and think negatively about themselves or people around them. (For example, they may think, ‘everyone hates me’.)
  • Physical health – a range of illnesses may be related to domestic and family violence. Headaches, stomach aches, stress reactions (for example rashes or immune system related illnesses) and sleep disturbances (for example nightmares, insomnia or bedwetting) are common.

Helping children recover

How quickly and completely children recover from the effects of domestic and family violence depends on whether:

  • They can be kept safe from violence and from reminders of previous trauma – known as ‘trauma triggers’
  • They are supported and comforted within a ‘protective cocoon’ of care after they experience trauma
  • The schools and childcare centres they attend provide an understanding and supportive environment to help with healing and recovery
  • They can have security, safety and care in their everyday lives
  • They have access to specialised trauma-informed therapies or help, if they need them
  • They can rebuild a safe and secure attachment with their mother or a protective carer, if they have been exposed to violence in their early years
  • Other disadvantages impact on the child’s life, such as poverty, isolation or school bullying

Recovery can also depend on individual personalities and strengths.

this article has been published from https://www.1800respect.org.au

KIDS ARE SUFFERING IN SILENCE Family Violence HIDDEN HURT

IMPACT OF family DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence grow up in an environment that is unpredictable, filled with tension and anxiety and dominated by fear. This can lead to significant emotional and psychological trauma, similar to that experienced by children who are victims of child abuse. Instead of growing up in an emotionally and physically safe, secure, nurturing and predictable environment, these children are forced to worry about the future;  they try to predict when it might happen next and try to protect themselves and their siblings. Often getting through each day is the main objective so there is little time left for fun, relaxation or planning for the future.  
 

Emotional and psychological trauma

Children living with domestic violence suffer emotional and psychological trauma from the impact of living in a household that is dominated by tension and fear. These children will see their mother threatened, demeaned or physically or sexually assaulted. They will overhear conflict and violence and see the aftermath of the violence such as their mother’s injuries and her traumatic response to the violence.  Children also may be used and manipulated by the abuser to hurt their mother.
 
A report undertaken by the Queensland Domestic Violence Taskforce 1988 stated that 90 per cent of children present in violent homes had witnessed the violence perpetrated against their mother. In research undertaken by the Australian Institute of Criminology 15 per cent of young people surveyed had experienced domestic violence and 32 per cent of young people knew someone who had experienced domestic violence (National Research on Young People’s Attitudes and Experiences of Domestic Violence 2000).  Children witnessing the violence inflicted on their mothers often evidence behavioural, somatic or emotional problems similar to those experienced by physically abused children (Jaffe, Wolfe, and Wilson 1990). 
 

Risk of physical injury

Children may be caught in the middle of an assault by accident or because the abuser intends it.  Infants can be injured if being held by their mothers when the abuser strikes out. Children may be hurt if struck by a weapon or a thrown object and older children are frequently assaulted when they intervene to defend or protect their mothers (Hilberman and Munson 1977-78). 
 

Direct victim of physical or sexual abuse:

A child may be directly targeted by the perpetrator and suffer physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or serious neglect. It has been more than 2 decades since the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse was identified; men who abuse their partners are also likely to assault their children. The abuse of women who are mothers usually predates the infliction of child abuse (Stark & Flitcraft 1988). At least half of all abusive partners also batter their children (Pagelow 1989). The more severe the abuse of the mother, the worse the child abuse (Bowker, Arbitell, and McFerron 1988).
 
 
Daughters are more likely than sons to become victims (Dobash and Dobash 1979). Woman abuse is also the context for sexual abuse of female children. Where the mother is assaulted by the father, daughters are exposed to a risk of sexual abuse 6.51 times greater than girls in non-abusive families (Bowker, Arbitell and McFerron 1988). Where a male is the perpetrator of child abuse, one study demonstrated that there is a 70 per cent chance that any injury to the child will be severe and 80 per cent of child fatalities within the family are attributable to fathers or father surrogates (Bergman, Larsen and Mueller 1986). 

 
Violence occurring during or after separation including child abduction

There is clear evidence that abusers often increase their use of violence and abuse to stop their partners from leaving, or to force their partners and children to return home following separation. The abuser may attempt to take the children away from their mother to punish the woman for leaving and in some cases children have even been killed.  The risk to children during and following separation is substantial.  

 

Children and young people’s reactions to domestic violence

  • Self-blame
  • Helplessness
  • Grief
  • Ambivalence
  • Fear
  • Dread
  • Terror 
  • Worry
  • Sadness
  • Helplessness
  • Shame
  • Anger
  • Numbness 
 

How domestic violence impacts on children

  • Poor concentration
  • Aggression, hyperactivity, disobedience
  • Disturbed sleep, nightmares
  • Withdrawal, low self-esteem
  • Showing no emotion (‘spaced out’)
  • Always on edge, wary
  • Fantasise about normal home life
  • Pessimism about the future
  • Physical symptoms 
 

How domestic violence impacts on young people

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal
  • Abuse of parents
  • Take on a caretaker role prematurely, trying to protect their mother
  • Poorly developed communication skills
  • Parent-child conflict
  • Enter marriage or a relationship early to escape the family home
  • Embarrassed about family
  • Shame
  • Poor self-image
  • Eating disorders
  • Low academic achievement
  • Dropping out from school
  • Low self-esteem
  • Staying away from home
  • Leaving home early
  • Running away from home
  • Feeling isolated from others
  • Violent outbursts
  • Participating in dangerous risk-taking behaviours to impress peers
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Difficulty communicating feelings
  • Nightmares
  • Experiencing violence in their own dating relationships
  • Physical injuries when they try to intervene to protect mother
  • Suicide 
 

The extent each child will be impacted varies depending on:

  • The length of time the child was exposed to the domestic violence;
  • The age of the child when the exposure began;
  • Whether the child has also experienced child abuse with the domestic violence;
  • The presence of additional stressors such as poverty, community violence, parental substance abuse or mental illness and disruptions in family life;
  • Whether the child has a secure attachment to a non-abusing parent or other significant adult;
  • Whether the child has a supportive social network;
  • Whether the child has strong cultural identity and ethnic pride;
  • The child’s own positive coping skills and experience of success;
  • Family access to health, education, housing, social services and employment
Often the behavioural and emotional impacts of domestic and family violence will improve when children and their mothers are safe, the violence is no longer occurring and they receive support and specialist counselling.
 
Apart from the emotional, physical, social and behavioural damage abuse creates for children, statistics show that domestic violence can also become a learned behaviour. This means that children may grow up to think it is okay to use violence to get what they want and as adults that it is okay for there to be violence in their relationships.
the article is published from Queensland Organisation
Domestic Violence Prevention Centre _ Gold Coast