What Children and Youth Need

As a caring adult we can explore helpful, supportive ways to work with all ages of children that support their healing process and contribute to their resilience. Young people who have been exposed to intimate partner violence need adults around them who can build emotional and physical safety. Thoughtful interventions grounded in an understanding of exposure to intimate partner violence are essential.

It is important that young people are listened to without judgment. Children who have been a part of a family with abuse may also feel they are responsible for the abuse or violence in their homes. It is critical that they receive the message that abuse is not their fault. It is important that children are supported and understand that is okay to have whatever feelings they are having.

Caution: It is important that we not make assumptions about what an individual child or youth needs. Find out: We can talk with the child or youth and their parents. What we can do is relay messages of support – messages such as:

  • You’re not alone

  • Abuse is never okay

  • The abuse is not your fault

  • The abuse is not the fault of your parent who is being abused

  • It is okay to love both of your parents

Click here for a Creating Trauma-Informed Services Tipsheet: Tips for Supporting Children and Youth Exposed to Domestic Violence: What You Might See and What You Can Do (1).


  1. National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health (2012). Adapted from the Domestic Violence and Mental Health Policy Initiative’s 2008 Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: A Curriculum for DV Advocates (written by Patricia Van Horn, JD, PhD). Chicago, IL: DVMHPI.