Gonzales Regional Children's Advocacy Center
Serving Gonzales & Lavaca Counties
Changing Lives ~ Giving Hope

It is our mission to restore the
dignity, hope and security to
children of Gonzales
and surrounding counties by uniting
public officials and our community.
To Report Suspected Abuse, call 1-800-252-5400 OR 911
Texas Family Code (261.101) states that a person having cause to believe
that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be
adversely affected by the abuse or neglect must report immediately.
Failure to report is punishable by imprisonment for up to 180 days and/or a
fine up to $2,000.
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What behaviors do children who witness domestic violence exhibit?
The emotional responses of children who witness domestic violence may include fear,
guilt, shame, sleep disturbances, sadness, depression, and anger (at both the abuser
for the violence and at the mother for being unable to prevent the violence).

Physical responses may include stomachaches and/or headaches, bedwetting, and
loss of ability to concentrate. Some children may also experience physical or sexual
abuse or neglect. Others may be injured while trying to intervene on behalf of their
mother or a sibling.

behavioral responses of children who witness domestic violence may include
acting out, withdrawal, or anxiousness to please. The children may exhibit signs of
anxiety and have a short attention span which may result in poor school performance
and attendance. They may experience developmental delays in speech, motor or
cognitive skills. They may also use violence to express themselves displaying increased
aggression with peers or mother. They can become self-injuring.

What are the long-term effects on children who witness domestic violence?
Whether or not children are physically abused, they often suffer emotional and
psychological trauma from living in homes where their fathers abuse their mothers.
Children whose mothers are abused are denied the kind of home life that fosters
healthy development. Children who grow up observing their mothers being abused,
especially by their fathers, grow up with a role model of intimate relationships in which
one person uses intimidation and violence over the other person to get their way.
Because children have a natural tendency to identify with strength, they may ally
themselves with the abuser and lose respect for their seemingly helpless mother.
Abusers typically play into this by putting the mother down in front of her children and
telling them that their mother is “crazy” or “stupid” and that they do not have to listen to
her. Seeing their mothers treated with enormous disrespect, teaches children that they
can disrespect women the way their fathers do.

Most experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence
is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems. They may replicate the violence
they witnessed as children in their teen and adult relationships and parenting
experiences. Boys who witness their mothers’ abuse are more likely to batter their
female partners as adults than boys raised in nonviolent homes. For girls, adolescence
may result in the belief that threats and violence are the norm in relationships.

Children from violent homes have higher risks of alcohol/drug abuse, post traumatic
stress disorder, and juvenile delinquency.

Witnessing domestic violence is the single best predictor of juvenile
delinquency and adult criminality.
It is also the number one reason children
run away.
The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Sometimes when you're in an intense or passionate relationship, it's hard to
recognize when lines are being crossed. You can get comfortable with dysfunction
and not realize when you are being abused, especially if your partner hasn't yet
become physically violent. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has a quiz for
identifying abuse.

Go through the following checklist to find out whether your relationship is
unhealthy and could be dangerous:

Does your partner:

___ Isolate you from friends, family members or supporters?

___ Embarrass you with put-downs?

___ Look or act in ways that scare you?

___ Control what you do or who you see or talk to?

___ Manipulate you with control of money?

___ Dominate all decisions?

___ Criticize your parenting and threaten to take away or hurt your children?

___ Prevent you from working or attending school?

___ Deny or downplay abuse or try to blame you for "provoking" it?

___ Destroy your property?

___ Intimidate you with guns, knives or other weapons?

___ Shove you, slap you, choke you or hit you?

___ Force you to drop charges?

___ Threaten to commit suicide?

___ Threaten to kill you?

If you answered yes to even one of these warning signs, you may be in an abusive
relationship. For support and more information please call The National Domestic
Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or at TTY (800) 787-3224.
Are You in an Abusive Relationship?