Domestic violence affects us all. Unfortunately, it touches all of our lives in some way.

Whether or not it makes an impact on us directly, it definitely affects everyone indirectly. Domestic violence strains resources in medical fields, law enforcement, the judicial system, and family services. Perhaps the most affected group happens to be living right in the home where the violence takes place. According to, studies show that 3-4 million children ages 3-17 risk exposure to domestic violence each year.
Children living in homes with domestic violence see, hear, and witness both violent acts and the aftermath of violent acts. They watch bruises form and fade. They observe the brokenness of their parents’ relationship. All the time they learn that this is love. Often the children that witness domestic violence growing up either become abusive themselves or continue the cycle of abuse by entering into relationships where they become victims.
Children who witness domestic violence risk generalized anxiety, hyperactivity, increased aggression, separation anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, PTSD, withdrawal, self-injurious behavior, and destructive tendencies. They often exhibit more health problems and struggle to form healthy attachments. Growing up in abusive homes leads these children to link violence to the expression of love, intimacy, and affection. This link negatively impacts all future relationships.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network emphasizes the need for children to strengthen the relationship with the non-abusive parent. “For most children, a strong relationship with a parent is a key factor in helping a child heal from the effects of domestic violence.” These families need more than just therapy. They require a safe place to receive support, case management, and advocacy.
Shelters provide a safe place for women and children to start the lengthy process of healing from the traumatic effects of intimate partner violence. When family services allow the non-abusive parent to flee to safety with their children, they confirm that these survivors are capable of protecting their children. Abusers tell victims constantly that if they try to leave they will get custody of the children. This is one of many reasons why victims choose to stay and children remain in homes with violence.
Shelters allow survivors and children to work towards achieving independence while they get crucial services. They receive counseling, education, and support while staying in a safe and nurturing environment. Shelters provide for people that do not have family or friends that can allow them to stay with them. Survivors learn valuable information about how to stay safe and how to seek legal help.
Jackson County residents have access to shelters located in Madison, Morgan, and Marshall County. With the assistance of advocates, law enforcement, and social services, people reach shelter safely and stay free of charge. These shelters receive funding through the Violence Against Women Act, grants, and donations. After arriving at shelter women and children complete assessments to make sure they access all services needed and available.
If you or someone you know needs help fleeing domestic violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please reach out to a local advocate at 256.574.5826 or 256.716.1000. Someone will assist you in getting safe. Help stop the cycle of abuse.

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