Child Witnesses to Domestic Violence Law and Legal Definition

A child is a witness to domestic violence when an act that is defined as domestic violence is done or committed in the presence of, or perceived by the child. Recently, increased attention has been focused on children who shall be affected by violence in the home. The witnessing of domestic violence can be auditory, visual, or inferred, including instances where the child perceives the aftermath of violence, such as physical injuries to family members or damage to property. Children who witness domestic violence suffer severe emotional and developmental difficulties same as those of children who are direct victims of abuse. The legal system is beginning to recognize the need to protect and care for these children. In many states, a conviction for domestic violence committed in the presence of a child result in severe penalties when compared to a conviction for domestic violence without the presence of a child.