Simon* witnessed his dad abuse his mum from a young age. Here he shares his experiences of what life was like growing up with domestic abuse: “I felt scared not knowing what could happen next. It could’ve ended in tears, or it could’ve ended with blood all over the floor – who knew.
“Luckily, it was mostly in tears – but it was my mum who was left in tears and not the person who I hoped it would – my dad. I’d predict that it would end with mum crying and I felt really bad when I got my prediction right.”
It’s estimated that one in seven children in the UK have lived with domestic abuse at some point in their childhood. In the majority of these homes, children will be aware of the abuse happening and will often hear or see it going on.
Simon witnessed many of the attacks or was in the house when it happened and would sleep in his mum’s room to try and protect her.
He says one of the worse things about his father’s abusive was his dad leaving and coming back again: “He’d come back again after a certain amount of time. For the first couple of days he would be nice and then maybe by the second week the violence would start back.’’
“You know what’s going to happen in your life. Like imagine being me for the day, you never know what would happen or what’s next.”
When Simon was around 8 –years-old his father left the family for the last time: “The violence was getting way too much for my mum. There was an incident with a frying pan across the face the same year he left.”
Children and young people who witness abuse may experience negative short term and long term effects, such as becoming depressed, difficulty sleeping or having nightmares, becoming aggressive or acting much younger than they are.
The trauma caused by the violence and abuse is still having an effect on Simon and his mother, even now, years later. He tells us she often feels sick and can’t get out of bed: “I don’t know why it just comes along when you least expect it, plus when you don’t need it or want it.”
At Glow, we offer specialist support to children and young people who have witnessed abuse at home. This includes one to one support sessions for 5 – 19 years olds which we deliver in schools and colleges and our Young Persons Violence Advisors (YPVAs) who support young people who are at high risk from domestic abuse.
For support or to find out more, contact us on 0330 0945 559. If you are in immediate danger, call 999.