Children who have witnessed or been the victim of domestic abuse and violence in the household are some of the most vulnerable in society. Greater Manchester residents may have heard of the charitable organisation Refuge, which provides support for the women and children who have been victims of this behaviour and helps them to build a secure and more positive life. It believes that children should not need to live in a fearful home environment and that abusive households pose a significant danger for children in the U.K.
According to Refuge, over 65 per cent of their residents are children, many of whom have shown a strength and resilience that has allowed them to come to terms with their experiences. The organisation has rejected the misplaced belief that children who have witnessed domestic violence will later in life necessarily exhibit violent tendencies themselves. It believes that by supporting them through a wide range of services, they will no longer need to live in an environment of fear and abuse.
The psychological and emotional impact on children may be long lasting and can affect them in many ways. Living in fear and sometimes feeling that they are the cause of the problem can lead to behavioural issues such as attention seeking, vandalism, substance abuse or detachment. Physically, symptoms can include bedwetting, asthma, speech problems or skin conditions while psychological indicators may be depression, insomnia or feelings of inadequacy.
A divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour such as domestic violence relies on the couple living separately within six months of an incident occurring. A solicitor knowledgeable about the effects that an abusive marriage have on the spouse and children may discuss the legal options available to a client in order to assist them to make a clean break and a new beginning.