Domestic violence refers to violence from one individual toward another occurring within family or intimate relationships. It is a serious issue that reaches into all aspects of society, regardless of age, gender, cultural background, social status, relationship status or sexual orientation. Domestic violence can include physical, verbal, sexual, emotional, financial or psychological abuse to gain control or to intimidate another person. Some of the negative effects of domestic abuse includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, withdrawal, fear of intimacy, difficulty trusting others, sleep issues, substance use and abuse or serious physical injury.
Domestic violence can have a considerable impact on the life of a child, whether they experience the abuse directly, or if they witness abuse being afflicted on a loved one. Children who have this traumatic experience could develop emotional, psychological, behavioural or developmental issues, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, or may become violent toward other individuals, and may carry forward similar violent behaviours in future relationships.
How Counselling Can Help
Counselling can help address some of the emotional or psychological effects of domestic violence through the use of therapeutic interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
For children who have experienced violence, therapy can include Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, family therapy, play therapy, art therapy or sand tray therapy.
Additional Resources for Domestic Violence:
Government of Canada, Department of Justice:
Victim Services of Ontario:
Victim Services of Durham Region:
Canadian Women’s Foundation:
Durham Region’s Intimate-Relationship Violence Empowerment Network
American Psychological Association:
Child Welfare Information Gateway:
Domestic Violence in Canada – Get The Facts