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Children and Domestic Violence

Discussion in 'Married Life' started by Meeta, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. Meeta

    Meeta Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Dear Frds,
    Since last few days, we have been viewing different posts regarding domestic violence. We have different suggestions for the victims but it was the victim who has to come forward and fight for her rights....she has to take action.
    I felt bad to hear women in this world are still suffering and the most bad thing is that they have no voice to protest against the abuse.......they have the fear of everything from parents......society .........status.......security..........etc. But they are not giving any importance to the future of the child who is witnessing this and what will be the impact of all this on the child........will he able to grow well in such kind of violence.......what will be his behavior towards the abuser and the victim........what will be his behavior to his counterpart in his future............
    These questions haunted me for few days........so I have to end up searching for the answers from different websites...........
    I am presenting my collections and if you have some time from your busy life please go through it.......it may be helpful to someone whom you know.........

    Thank you and regards.

    Children and Domestic Violence

    All Children

    § Between 3.3 million and 25 million children experience domestic violence in their homes each year.
    § Children who live in homes where their mothers are battered are 50% more likely to be beaten themselves.
    § Children from homes where their mothers is beaten suffer eating and sleeping disorders, have headaches, ulcers, rashes, depression, and anxiety caused by the trauma of witnessing abuse.
    § They have a higher risk of abusing substances and becoming juvenile delinquents.
    § Eighty percent of teen runaways and homeless youth come from violent homes.
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    Girls
    • Girls from homes with domestic violence are 6.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted and more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
    <v:shape id=_x0000_i1033 style="WIDTH: 36pt; HEIGHT: 15pt" href="http://www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/childrenviolence.html#top#top" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="top" o:button="t"><v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\mishras\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:href="http://www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/images/top.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>
    Boys

    § A boy from a home where his mother is battered is 74% more likely to commit violence, including rape.
    § Boys who grow up in non-violent homes have one chance in 400 of becoming abusive adults, but boys who grow up in violent homes have one chance in two of becoming abusive adults.
    § Sixty-three percent of boys ages 11-20 arrested for homicide have killed their mother's abuser.

    Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
    Any time a mother is abused her children are also affected in both overt and subtle ways.
    We know much about woman abuse. We know much about child abuse. But if we are to seriously address either one, we must recognize the links between these two forms of domestic violence.
    While one form of abuse can certainly occur without the other, the tragic reality is that anytime a mother is abused by her husband/partner, her children are also affected in both overt and subtle ways:
    • When a mother is abused, her children see it, hear it, sense it.
    • When a mother is abused, her children feel confusion, stress, and fear.
    • When a mother is abused, her children may feel guilty that they can't protect her, or that they are the cause of the strife. If she leaves, they may feel responsible for the family breakup.
    • When a mother is abused, her children, particularly sons, are more likely to grow up to repeat the destructive patterns they saw in their early lives.
    • When a mother is abused, her children may also be physically abused, or they may be neglected while the mother attempts to deal with her own trauma.

    Children of battered women show their distress in a range of physical and emotional problems:
    • Children from violent homes get sick more often and generally have more health problems than children from non-violent homes; these include headaches, ulcers, abdominal complaints and bedwetting. If the children are themselves abused, their health problems are even greater.
    • Psychological and emotional problems are more frequent in children of abused women. Preschoolers particularly show below-average self-concept and less empathy for others, while school age boys are likely to be more aggressive and show more behavioral problems than both girls of battered mothers and children from non-violent homes. Depression, anxiety, fear, eating and sleep disorders, regressive behaviors, and guilt are common in children of battered women.

    Children of abused women are at high risk of being abused themselves.
    • The rate of child abuse is from six to fifteen times higher in families where the mother is abused compared to families where the mother is not abused.
    • Of women coming to shelters, more than half report that their children are also physically, emotionally and sometimes sexually abused; the child abuser is two to three times more likely to be the woman's abuser than the battered woman herself.
    • Many battered women report that their abuser threaten or attack the children as a way to control and hurt the mothers even more.
    • Studies of abused children in the general population reveal that nearly half of them have mothers who are also abused, making wife abuse the single strongest identifiable risk factor for child abuse.

    Children, particularly boys, of battered women are at a great risk of repeating the patters they saw as children when they become adults.
    • While the “common wisdom” holds that abused women are just repeating the victimization they saw their mothers suffer, comparative studies actually show that battered women are only slightly more likely than non-battered women to have come from homes where they or their mothers were abused.
    • In contrast, abusers are six times more likely to have seen their fathers beating their mothers than non-abusers (one study showed 45% of abusers had seen their mothers abused as compared to 7.5% of non-abusers.) And almost 82% of those boys witnessing spouse abuse were also abused themselves, thus confirming a strong relationship between spouse abuse and child abuse.
    • Our culture already encourages boys to act aggressively, to show and take power physically, to see girls as weak and easy prey; the culture encourages girls to act submissively, and to accept the domination of a male as the norm. These values reinforce boys' early experience of a violent home, increasing the likelihood that they will become abusers. Societal values encourage girls, no matter what their background of abuse, to accept how their husbands or boyfriends treat them, to expect that boys/men will use physical means to maintain control of their surroundings and the people in them.

    When we suspect child abuse, we should also suspect woman abuse. When we see battered mothers, we must also reach out to their children.
    • Because woman abuse is child abuse, the children of an abused woman are also in need of our careful loving attention. We must remember these interconnections as we attempt to eradicate family violence through services, education and public policy.


    Statistics on the Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

    In homes where domestic violence occurs, children are at high risk of suffering physical abuse themselves. Regardless of whether children are physically abused, the emotional effects of witnessing domestic violence are very similar to the psychological trauma associated with being a victim of child abuse. Each year, an estimated 3.3 million children witness domestic violence.
    § Children in homes where domestic violence occurs are physically abused or seriously neglected at a rate 1500% higher than the national average in the general population.
    § Research suggest that battering is the single most common factor among mothers of abused children.
    § Lenore Walker's 1984 study found that mothers were 8 times more likely to hurt their children when they were being battered than when they were safe from violence.
    § Children in homes where domestic violence occurs may indirectly receive injuries when household items are thrown, weapons are used, or as a result of being held by their mother when being battered.
    § Older children may be hurt while trying to protect their mother.
    § Children from violent homes have higher risks of drug/alcohol abuse and juvenile delinquency.
    § Approximately 90% of children are aware of the violence directed at their mother.
    § Children are present in 41-55% of homes where police intervene in domestic violence calls.
    § Children in homes where domestic violence occurs may experience cognitive or language problems, developmental delay, stress-related physical ailments and hearing and speech problems.
    § 72% of women going to a shelter bring their children with them and 21% of them bring 3 or more children.
    § Boys who witness domestic violence are more likely to batter their female partners as adults than boys raised in nonviolent homes.
    § Many states have passed legislation recognizing that domestic violence should affect child custody decisions.
    -From Domestic Violence – A Guide for Health Care Professionals,
    State of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">New Jersey</st1:place></st1:State>, Department of Community Affairs, March 1990




    Effects on Children Who Live With Domestic Violence

    Let's begin with the assumption that children do not sleep through domestic violence. Therefore, they are potential witnesses to a crime because they very likely heard or saw something. What the officer does or does not do at the domestic violence crime scene will irrevocably affect them.
    How are children affected by domestic violence?

    § They exhibit "failure to thrive" symptoms even as infants.
    § They may exhibit "general aggressiveness" or violence to siblings or the "victim parent" in ways that emulate the abusive parent.
    § They may exhibit a pattern of "over-compliance" and fearfulness.
    § They often suffer from low self-esteem.
    § They often suffer poor health.
    § They may have poor impulse control.
    § They often experience academic problems.
    § They live frequently "disrupted lives" when the victim is forced to flee the home.
    § They, along with their mothers, comprise nearly 40% of the homeless population in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">U.S.</st1:place></st1:country-region>
    § They are sometimes injured during violent incidents in the home or the family vehicle.
    § They are more often abducted by the abuser parent than other children.
    § They may have a fear and distrust of close relationships.
    § They may become conflicted in taking sides with parents.
    § They experience confusion over correct behavior.
    § They experience psychosomatic complaints, i.e., stomachaches, headaches, stuttering, anxiety, fear, etc.
    § They experience "night terrors" (waking up screaming in the night).
    § They may wet the bed.
    § They kill themselves more often than children who do not live with abuse.
    § They are likely to repeat learned behaviors.
    § They blame themselves for the violence or the inability to stop it and protect the victim parent.
    § They often experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
    § They are more likely to be victim of child physical and sexual abuse, most often by the abuser parent and less often by the victim.
    § They are four times as likely to be arrested eventually.
    § They are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.
    § They are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior.
    § They are more likely to commit crime against other persons and sexual assaults.
    Need I say more?
    -Taken from Training on Domestic Violence with Sergeant Anne O'Dell
    Effects on Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence

    More than 3 million children each year are front row spectators to domestic violence in their homes. In half of the homes where domestic violence occurs, the abuse eventually includes the children. Children grow up believing power and control are used to settle disputes and are more likely to repeat the same behavior as adults.

    Physical Effects
    • Somatic complaints, headaches, and stomach aches.
    • Nervous, anxious, short attention spans, frequently misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.
    • Tired and lethargic.
    • Frequently ill.
    • Poor personal hygiene.
    • Regression in development, thumb sucking, etc., depending on age.
    • Desensitization to pain.
    • High risk play and activities.
    • Self-abuse.
    • Adolescent eating disorders, substance abuse, suicide, delinquency.
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    Emotional Effects
    • Shame, guilt, and self-blame, ie., "I caused it" or "I should have been able to stop it."
    • Grief for family and personal losses.
    • Confusion about conflicting feelings toward parents.
    • Fear of abandonment, of expressing emotions, or unknown and/or personal injury.
    • Anger about violence and the chaos in their lives.
    • Depression, feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
    • Embarrassed by the effects of abuse and the dynamics at home.
    <v:shape id=_x0000_i1026 style="WIDTH: 36pt; HEIGHT: 15pt" href="http://www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/childwitnesses.html#top#top" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="top" o:button="t"><v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\mishras\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:href="http://www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/images/top.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>
    Behavioral Effects (may be opposite extremes)
    • Acting out versus withdrawing, aggressive versus passive.
    • Overachiever versus underachiever.
    • Refusal to go to school.
    • Caretaking, more concern for others than for self, acting as a parent substitute.
    • Lying to avoid confrontation.
    • Rigid defenses (aloof, sarcastic, defensive, "black and white" thinking).
    • Excessive attention seeking, often using extreme behaviors.
    • Bedwetting and nightmares.
    • Out of control behavior, not able to set own limits or follow directions.
    • Reduced intellectual competency.
    • Manipulation, dependency, mood swings.
    <v:shape id=_x0000_i1027 style="WIDTH: 36pt; HEIGHT: 15pt" href="http://www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/childwitnesses.html#top#top" type="#_x0000_t75" alt="top" o:button="t"><v:imagedata src="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\mishras\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_image001.gif" o:href="http://www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/images/top.gif"></v:imagedata></v:shape>
    Social Effects
    • Isolation from friends and relatives.
    • Relationships that are frequently stormy, start intensely and end abruptly.
    • Difficulty in trusting, especially adults.
    • Poor anger management and problem solving skills.
    • Excessive social involvement to avoid home life.
    • Passivity with peers or bullying toward peers, play with peers gets extremely rough.
    • Engaged in exploitative relationships, either as perpetrator or victim.
    Effects of Domestic Violence on Children as Related by Their Mothers

    The following stories are told by mothers whose children witnessed domestic violence.
    ANNETTE

    The kids were carrying a terrible secret. If they talked, they would lose their dad, and they would be responsible for "breaking up" the family. If they didn't talk, they felt like they were taking part in my abuse. The kids were torn to pieces by the time we left him. And even that didn't end it. Every time he had visitation, he'd grill them about me and he was always trying to make them choose between him and me. He'd coach them on things he wanted them to say to me and then they'd have to decide, "Should I say it or not?" He tried to turn them into weapons in his war on me.
    JOCELYN

    One morning after my husband left for work, my sons were in their room and as I cleaned the kitchen, I realized that they were role-playing one of our fights. My youngest called his brother a "rotten ****" and I wanted to die. Over the years, the imitation continued. The older one wanted to beat up his dad for me and tried on a few occasions. But the younger one walked around the house calling me a fat pig. Eventually, he started to hit me. That was too much. It opened my eyes. I wouldn't tolerate this behavior from an eight-year old, so why was I tolerating it from my husband? I realized that my kids were growing up with a totally distorted image of what a family is, what a normal mom is, what a normal dad is, what love is. They'd already learned to disrespect victims, to disrespect me.
    CHERYL

    One day my husband laid into me because I was delayed at the church and I wasn't home with dinner on the table when he came in from work. He cursed me out and carried on, and afterwards, my son said to me, "I'd be mad, too, if I came home and my wife wasn't there." He was only nine years old. I hated the way he thought about women and the way he talked to me, and I realized that if we stayed there, he was going to wind up thinking and acting just like his father.
    From When Love Goes Wrong: What to Do When You Can't Do Anything Right, by A. Jones and S, Schecter, 1992, Harper Collins.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2007
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  2. Avani

    Avani New IL'ite

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    thank you meeta for the information.
    I am a advoate/therapist in a DV agency and we work with children who have witnessed DV. It is very real and it does affect the children in a very negative way. I hear women tell me all the time that their child was sleeping in the other room or they were playing. Please children see and hear everything and they so make great observations, but terrible interpretations. So you may thing they did not hear you, but trust me they know something is wrong.

    There is lot of research out there, just type children and DV in google and you can get latest updates..

    avani
     
  3. puni88

    puni88 Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Hello,
    Yes, it is really impacts the children very much.
    I could see in my own family that my elder son (7 yrs old) could understand everything and sense something wrong.
    And he is not that comfortable with my husband at all. He has so much fear in him.

    ~Punitha
     
  4. Sriniketan

    Sriniketan IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Meeta for bringing out this information.
    This clearly shows how DV affects the future generation, immensely and the society as a whole.

    sriniketan
     

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