February 2, 2023
Domestic violence does not occur in a vacuum. Often, consequences reach anyone involved in domestic violence, from the perpetrator to the victim to any children in the household.
Certainly, criminal repercussions affect perpetrators of domestic violence, but how does domestic violence impact the children that witness the relationship?
Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence and how it may shape your children.
The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
An overwhelming number of children exposed to domestic violence grow up at risk for long-term mental and physical health problems. The risk of violence in their adults intimate relationships may also be greater.
Some short-term effects of domestic violence on children include:
- Behavior reversions, such as bedwetting or thumb-sucking
- Acute separation anxiety
Older children might internalize blame for violence in the home. Their self-esteem can suffer for it. In turn, they may have trouble making friends at school. They could also suffer from physical ailments like stomach aches or headaches.
Acting out is a concern in older kids, too. They may engage in risky behaviors, experiment with drugs and alcohol, or start fights at school.
Long-term effects can impact their lives for years to come. Children exposed to violence between adults at home exhibit a higher risk for sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, plus health problems like anxiety or depression.
The good news: with proper support, a child exposed to domestic violence can recover with a solid support system and change of scenery.
When surrounded by trusted adults, children are able to improve their self-esteem and establish healthy relationships.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Colorado
Children might get caught up in the court system as a result of domestic violence. After all, courts have an obligation to intervene when an unhealthy home environment involves violence. In the eyes of the law, the proper response is often to remove the abuser from the situation.
Thus, a child could lose a parent to jail time. While this might ensure their safety, parental abandonment creates another unanticipated negative repercussion.
If you are accused and convicted of domestic violence in Colorado, several consequences can occur.
First, you may be subject to a protective order for all members of the household, meaning you may lose contact with your children for an extended period – sometimes years.
Second, you can end up in prison for domestic violence, especially with previous convictions. The habitual domestic violence offender label can invoke a Class 5 felony, which can result in up to six years behind bars. Considering how rapidly children grow and change, six years lost can feel much longer.
Luckily, Colorado wants to help those caught up in domestic violence situations, both the perpetrator and the victim. Domestic violence treatment programs are often required by the court. They can help abusers deal with issues that may have led them to violence. These programs can often be completed instead of serving time in jail.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.