Recognizing Domestic Violence in Early Life

Domestic violence doesn't just impact adults.

Many think that domestic violence only affects adults. But many children and teens either witness or experience abuse long before adulthood. Studies suggest that some 15.5 million children and teens have witnessed domestic violence. Approximately 1/3 of children will have either witnessed or experienced abuse by their 17th birthday.

Domestic violence can impact anyone, anywhere, at any age.

Prevention, education, and social change can transform the future for our young people.

The Signs of Childhood and Teen Domestic Violence

Recognizing the signs of childhood domestic violence is vitally important.

Teachers, caregivers, and others who work with children and teens should be aware of the following behaviors and symptoms, which could indicate violence in the child’s home:

  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Physical symptoms with no clear medical cause (headaches, stomachaches, or other complaints)
  • Angry outburst or new/worsening aggressive behavior
  • Increased activity or inability to sit still
  • Increasing worry, fear, or reaction to loud noises
  • Regression
  • Withdrawal
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Other changes in behavior, mood, or play

While these symptoms in themselves aren’t indicators of abuse, they could be warning signs of trouble in the home.

"Nearly 21% of teenage girls report experiencing dating violence"

Dating Violence in Teens and Young Adults

Teen dating violence is a common and often unaddressed problem in young relationships. Nearly 21% of teenage girls report experiencing dating violence, while more than 13% of boys report the same, according to Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) of Madison, WI.

Dating violence takes many forms: verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, controlling behavior, online harassment, financial abuse, and others. Teens involved in an abusive relationship are at a higher risk for suicide, eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, and other long-term self-harming behavior.

Teenagers and young adults are incredibly vulnerable to abusive relationships. Educating them about the signs and dangers of domestic violence can help them recognize and escape unhealthy relationships.

Preventing Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can impact anyone at any age. However, by recognizing the signs of abuse, educating others about the signs, and intervening early, we can help these young victims escape these destructive relationships.

Here at WODBottom, we believe strongly in addressing and preventing domestic violence for children, teens, and adults. That’s why a portion of our proceeds go to the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services organization here in Madison, WI. This nonprofit serves survivors of domestic violence – both children and adults – and works to prevent future instances of abuse.

If you suspect a young person in your life is witnessing or experience domestic violence, or if you are a victim yourself, don’t wait. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at or 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

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