Talking to your child

Talking about domestic abuse is never easy. Talking to your children when they witness abuse can be both heart-breaking and confusing.

When a child sees or directly experiences abuse it is important to talk about it.

They may not understand what happened, or why. They might blame themselves; blame you or the police or other authorities. They may think they are responsible for fixing things.

Adult silence may be seen as a signal to keep quiet themselves, or feel that it is a shameful secret.

What can you do?

  • Let them know you love them and want to keep them safe
  • Ask about how they’re feeling, and try to really listen and understand them
  • Accept that they may not want to talk about it right away
  • Say that you know it might be hard or scary for them, and that it’s okay to feel angry, sad, scared, worried or anxious
  • Let them to share whatever types of feelings they have towards the abusive person
  • Let them know the violence is not okay, but focus on the behaviours rather than on the character of the abusive person