When children witness domestic violence

Though Domestic Violence Awareness Month ended Saturday, we will continue to discuss some of the topics involving the legislation enacted in order to protect victims of domestic violence. This week in the Legal Corner, we will end this series discussing the effects of domestic on children involved in these cases.

Unfortunately, in so many cases of domestic violence, children between the ages of 3-17 are also exposed to the abuse. This also means that children who are victims of and witnesses to domestic violence are not immune to the long-term effects of the trauma.

Generally, children who have been exposed to acts of domestic violence tend to stay on guard, are anxious and most times afraid. Additionally, children exposed to domestic violence remain stressed because they never know what may set the abuse off, and they are concerned about their personal safety and the safety of their loved ones experiencing the violence.

As a result of these negative effects and concerns for children exposed to domestic violence, North Carolina’s legislature has included more intense consequences and punishments for domestic violence perpetrators. Particularly, a person who commits acts of domestic violence can be charged with assault in the presence of a minor, in addition to any charges obtained for acts against the victim.

Moreover, any acts of domestic violence committed in the presence of a minor child are considered aggravating factors of the crime. This means once the abuser pleads guilty or is found guilty, he or she could face both supervised probation and active jail time.

Please remember that this information is only meant to inform our readers. This article does not include all of the detailed information and laws related to domestic violence and victims of domestic violence in North Carolina. If you have any additional questions about the North Carolina laws associated with protecting victims from domestic violence, please consult an attorney or a local counselor.

If you are in need of assistance with getting out of a violent situation, please call local law enforcement or the crisis line of our local domestic violence service provider, New Horizons, at 910-557-5684. As always: Be informed. Be prepared.