Signs of Domestic Abuse

For more information on domestic abuse and its effect on children, click here.

Knowing the signs that a child has witnessed domestic abuse can help give a voice to children. It can be very difficult to tell if domestic abuse is happening, particularly as perpetrators of abuse may act differently when there are other people around, and victims or children who have witnessed domestic abuse might be afraid to talk about it.

Signs that a child is witnessing domestic abuse include:

  • Bullying or aggression towards others
  • Bed-wetting
  • Nightmares, trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Constant or frequent sickness (e.g. headaches, colds)
  • Anti-social behaviour (e.g. vandalism)
  • Problems in school
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Attention seeking
  • Tantrums
  • Withdrawal
  • Anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts

Domestic violence is a crime. Never hesitate to call the police who have specialist domestic violence officers trained to help you and put you in touch with other agencies who can help you with safety planning, housing issues, drug or alcohol problems or give details of solicitors who can assist you with the legal side of things.

The Portal is a ‘one-stop shop’ for survivors in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex, website visitors can choose from a number of options, including advice for friends and family and a referral pathway for professionals. The Portal can make it simpler to quickly find the right help.

Click here for the Pan Sussex Procedure on domestic abuse.


If you are concerned about a child, please contact Front Door For Families on 01273 290400, FrontDoorForFamilies@brighton-hove.gov.uk, or use their Online Referral Form.

If a child is in immediate danger, you should contact the police by calling 999.