Many New Yorkers are trapped in toxic relationships. There are a number of factors that can make a relationship toxic, including financial infidelity, controlling behavior, and abuse. Domestic violence is an all too common occurrence, too. While domestic violence can have a significant impact on victims, it can also profoundly affect a child’s well-being.

Sure, domestic violence puts a child at risk of being physically injured when he or she tries to break up fighting within the family home, but witnessing or even hearing domestic violence can take a toll on a child’s emotional and psychological health, resulting in both short-term and long-term consequences. Amongst the damage caused are:

  • A deep seeded fear of abandonment or harm
  • Excessive sadness
  • Overwhelming worry
  • Guilt over an inability to prevent domestic violence and protect the abused parent
  • Feeling as if he or she is the cause of violence
  • Emotional desensitization and distancing
  • Extreme frustration
  • Behavioral issues, including increased aggression and lying

These issues can lead to a whole host of other problems, too. Children who are exposed to domestic violence may develop cognitive and learning limitations, and anxiety, depression, and self-harming behaviors are a very real possibility. These children often exhibit low self-worth and struggle to build and maintain healthy familial and social relationships.

So, as you can see, children are highly susceptible to the effects of domestic violence. This means that parents who are in a relationship where domestic violence is present need to take action to protect their children, as well as themselves. The first step is to develop an exit plan to get out of the relationship. Then, once that is accomplished, you may need to seek legal protection.

With regard to your child, this may mean dealing with child custody and visitation through the family law courts. To be successful in this endeavor, you need to know the law and how to use it to your advantage. This may mean gathering evidence of domestic violence and eyewitness accounts. Strong legal arguments can then be developed to support your position and the best interests of your child. This can be a challenging process fraught with emotions, which is why it is often best to have a strong legal advocate by your side when dealing with these matters. Our firm has dealt with these kinds of issues many times before and is prepared to help others navigate these oftentimes murky waters.

By dealing with child custody matters head-on, you can better ensure that your child is as fully protected as is possible under the circumstances. This not only insulates your child from the immediate damage caused by exposure to domestic violence, but it also protects him or her from what could otherwise end up being irreparable long-term damage.

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