Domestic violence has immediate impacts on a victim's health, which sometimes is fatal. Its physical, mental, and behavioural health effects can be extensive and can continue long after the violence has stopped. However, someone could recover after experiencing abuse, even if the abuse lasts for many years.

A healthy mind goes beyond not having a mental illness, and addressing one's mental health needs will improve overall well-being. The well-being of realizing one's potential, coping with the everyday stresses of life, can work productively, can do well and fully enjoy life.

Part of the multifaceted journey to recovery addresses the emotional well-being of survivors to ensure and maintain financial security. Receiving counselling support to work through trauma-related issues that are barriers to gaining employment or affecting performance at work is pivotal to economic security.

Although not comprehensive, below are some possible emotional, psychological and behavioural effects of domestic violence. Survivors may develop personality changes that impact their sense of identity and the way they show up. If you suspect that you or anyone you know may be suffering from abuse, contact CIWA for culturally sensitive support.

COMMON MENTAL / PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH IMPACTS

  • Depression; Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Loss of concentration or productivity
  • Sleeping and eating disorders; Changes to normal eating or sleeping habits
  • Chronic stress and anxiety disorders (e.g. post-traumatic stress disorder; hypervigilance)
  • Self-harm and suicide attempts
  • poor self-esteem
  • Self-blame and guilt
  • Anger
  • Feelings of helplessness, despair
  • Self-destructive behaviour / self-degradation
  • Difficulties with parenting children
  • Changes in relationships with others