Exposure to or witnessing of domestic violence can be extremely harmful to children. When it comes to domestic violence and children, you want to ensure that they are protected from the following actions.
(1) Seeing physical/and or sexual abuse
(2) Hearing threats or fighting noises
(3) Observing the aftermath of physical abuse such as blood, bruises, tears, torn clothing, and broken items.
(4) Being aware of the tension in the home, such as a parent’s fearfulness when the abuser’s car pulls into the driveway.
Typical Responses from Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
Children who are exposed to domestic violence become fearful and anxious because they never know what will trigger the abuse. These children never feel safe. A child’s responses to domestic violence may include shame, sleep disturbances, sadness, depression, and anger. A child may have stomach aches, headaches, or may experience bedwetting, and loss of ability to concentrate. All can result in poor school performance and attendance.
If you are in an abusive relationship, you can take steps to leave it. Consider obtaining a domestic violence restraining order to protect yourself and your children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers some useful advice regarding domestic violence and children. Their FAQs offer suggestions for how to help children recover, what children may be experiencing, and how to proceed legally.
What To Do in an Emergency Domestic Violence Situation
If you or your children are in immediate danger, The San Diego County Family Court has the authority to issue emergency protective orders. They can do so if:
(1) You and/or your child are in immediate and present danger of domestic violence by a family or household member based on recent incidents of abuse
(2) Your child is in immediate and present danger of abuse or abduction by a family or household member.
A domestic violence restraining order may include the removal of the abusive party from the home and ordering him or her to stay away from you, the home, the child’s school, and your workplace. It may also prevent the abuser from molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, and calling you.
A domestic violence restraining order can legally force someone who abuses you or harasses you to do the following.
- Leave the residence and live somewhere else
- Have only supervised visits with the children
- Pay temporary child support and spousal support and continue making mortgage payments or rental payments while you and the children stay in the home
- Turn over any guns to the police
- Submit to regular drug and alcohol testing and to attend counseling
Domestic violence and children is a very serious matter. If you need an advocate to move forward with legal proceedings, consider hiring an experienced family law attorney. They will work with you to gather evidence, collect police reports, arrest records, and documents showing charges filed against your partner. Your attorney will also prepare your case and appear in court with you to obtain a domestic violence restraining order. And, if the abuser violates the restraining orders, they will take the steps necessary to enforce the orders.
JWB Family Law attorneys have years of experience handling domestic violence cases in San Diego. We understand the urgency of cases involving domestic violence and children, and we’re here to help. Contact us today so we can begin working on your case and ease your mind.