Children And Domestic Violence
Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,
It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and here are some statistics from different articles on children that I wanted to share.
Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence by family members against their mothers or female caretakers.
American Psychl. Ass’n, Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 11
- Boys who witness domestic violence in their own home are three times more likely to become batterers.
Straus, M.A., Gelles, R.J. & Steinmetz, S. Behind Closed Doors. Doubleday, Anchor, 1980.
- In homes where partner abuse occurs, children are 1,500 times more likely to be abused.
Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Family Violence: Interventions for the Justice System, 1993
- Forty to sixty percent of men who abuse women also abuse children.
American Psychl. Ass’n, Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 80
- Fathers who batter mothers are two times more likely to seek sole physical custody of their children than are nonviolent fathers.
American Psychl. Ass’n, Violence and the Family: Report of the American Psychological
- Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family (1996), p. 40
- Children are exposed to or experience domestic violence in many ways. They may hear one parent/caregiver threaten the other, observe a parent who is out of control or reckless with anger, see one parent assault the other, or live with the aftermath of a violent assault. Many children are affected by hearing threats to the safety of their caregiver, regardless of whether it results in physical injury. Children who live with domestic violence are also at increased risk to become direct victims of child abuse. In short, domestic violence poses a serious threat to children’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being, particularly if the violence is chronic.
Not all children exposed to violence are affected equally or in the same ways. For many children, exposure to domestic violence may be traumatic, and their reactions are similar to children’s reactions to other traumatic stressors.
|Short-Term Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Children’s immediate reactions to domestic violence may include:
• Generalized anxiety
• Difficulty concentrating
• High activity levels
• Increased aggression
• Increased anxiety about being separated from a parent
• Intense worry about their safety or the safety of a parent
|Long-Term Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Long-term effects, especially from chronic exposure to domestic violence, may include:
• Physical health problems
• Behavior problems in adolescence (e.g., juvenile delinquency, alcohol, substance abuse)
• Emotional difficulties in adulthood (e.g., depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD)
Exposure to domestic violence has also been linked to poor school performance. Children who grow up with domestic violence may have impaired ability to concentrate; difficulty in completing school work; and lower scores on measures of verbal, motor, and social skills.
In addition to these physical, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive effects, children who have been exposed to domestic violence often learn destructive lessons about the use of violence and power in relationships. Children may learn that it is acceptable to exert control or relieve stress by using violence, or that violence is in some way linked to expressions of intimacy and affection. These lessons can have a powerful negative effect on children in social situations and relationships throughout childhood and in later life.
Take good care of yourselves,
PRISCILLA BENNETT XOXO