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How Are Minors Affected by Domestic Violence?

 Posted on April 15, 2019 in Domestic Violence

IL defense lawyerThe first thing people think of when they hear the phrase “domestic violence” is often a spouse abusing their partner. However, it is just as common for children under the age of 18 to be victims of the abuse or neglect. Minors can be affected in a number of ways by not only being a victim of domestic violence, but also if they are a witness to the abuse or neglect. Side effects vary based on the age of the minor, but some include:

  • Increased crying or signs of terror such as hiding;
  • Bed-wetting or thumb-sucking;
  • Drop of self-esteem or feelings of guilt;
  • Trouble in school or becoming anti-social;
  • Less participation in activities;
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse;
  • Depression or behavior changes; and
  • Mimicking the abusive behavior.

As with adults in a domestic violence case, an order of protection can be ordered to keep the abuser away from any minor in an abusive situation. However, it is the responsibility of a parent or guardian to issue an order of protection.

How the Court Handles Cases of Domestic Violence of a Minor

In the state of Illinois, there are several steps to determine whether a child should be allowed time with a person accused of domestic abuse. After an order of protection goes into effect, the court will:

  • Define who is the minor’s primary caretaker;
  • Hear evidence from the petitioner that abuse occurred;
  • Determine if the accusation is warranted;
  • Determine if the accused should be a decision-maker for the minor;
  • Determine if the accused being a physical caregiver is in the best interest of the minor; and
  • Determine the amount of time the accused can be with the minor.

According to Illinois law, a person can be assigned to supervise visitations between an accused abuser and the minor child. However, if the accused arrives at visitations under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the accused can lose their right to visits with the minor.

Since it has been observed that separation from any one parent can drastically hinder a child, it is important that any case of domestic violence be thoroughly researched before the separation is made.

How Can Children Heal from Domestic Violence?

Though domestic violence can end with the proper steps taken, a child can still suffer the post-traumatic symptoms of the abuse. Parents and guardians must be aware that they are the most important resource when it comes to healing a minor’s mental scars.

The best way to help a minor is to make them feel safe again in their household. Create a support system and surround the child with people who love and care about them so they know they are not alone. Lastly, if necessary, seek professional counseling so the child can cope with the negative effects of the abuse.

Avoid Losing Time with Your Children

If you have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence and are worried about losing time with your children, you will need an accredited attorney on your side to defend your rights as a parent. The Chicago domestic violence lawyers of Luisi Legal Group are ready to hear your case. Call or email the office so a lawyer can review and build a solid defense on your behalf.





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