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Helpful reading for children and adults

Boston Medical Center's Child Witness to Violence Project

Helping Children Thrive: information for mothers who have left abusive relationships

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Read our latest newsletter: February 2017.

What's Happening

"Educating our communities and elected officials about the needs of survivors in our local cities and towns requires year round focus. JDI is our pathway to informing and influencing the state and national agenda to end sexual and domestic violence." ~ Karen Cavanaugh, Executive Director of Womanshelter/Companeras. PICTURE: Staff from The Center for Hope & Healing with Attorney General Maura Healey at JDI Advocacy Day.

Children Exposed to Batterers

Children and teens are exposed to sexual and domestic violence in a number of ways. It can be a terrifying and confusing experience if you hear threats or jealous accusations, are aware of tension in your house, or witness actual incidents of physical and/or sexual abuse of one of your parents, a sibling, other family member, or friend.

You May Feel

While not everyone reacts the same way when exposed to violence,

  • you might notice changes in your focus at school or interactions with your friends.
  • You may feel confused, alone, afraid, and unsure what to do next.
  • A lot of times children wonder if they’ve done something to cause the abuse.
  • You may worry about other family members who are younger or more vulnerable than you.
  • Along with these feelings and worries, it’s also not unusual to still love a family member who is abusive but hate the violent and abusive behavior.

Things to Know

First things first: You deserve to live in a safe and stable home. The violence is not your fault. It’s not your job to solve adult problems. The person being abusive or violent is the only one who is responsible for the violence.

It’s important that you talk to someone about what you are witnessing in your home and how it makes you feel. You can call your local domestic violence program or other resources listed in this web site to ask questions and get support for yourself.

Just because you are living in a home where there is domestic violence does not mean that when you grow up you will be either a victim or a perpetrator of abuse.

Find Help

If you are in immediate danger call 9-1-1. Don’t place yourself in danger by trying to intervene in a violent episode. Rather, get to a safe place and call for help.

Many children exposed to violence can resolve their feelings and concerns with the help of their family and community. However, there are instances when professional help is needed. Please contact your local domestic violence program to speak to a trained advocate about your situation and your safety.

For parents who are abused who might be concerned about the impact of domestic violence on your children, contact your local domestic violence program to talk to a trained advocate about your safety, your choices, and your rights.

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