Children growing up being exposed to domestic violence learn early and powerful lessons about the use of violence to dominate others in interpersonal relationships. Though not all child witnesses to DV will fall in the trap of being victims or abusers, statistically speaking, it can certainly encourage children to ascertain power in the same fashion. Ultimately, in order to understand the effects of domestic violence on children, one must direct their attention to the crucial role of all family relationships — including spousal relationships and parent-child relationships.
It is important to note that many children who witness domestic violence do not have adverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional effects. Several variables may lessen the effects of witnessing violence. These variables include female gender, intellectual ability, higher levels of socioeconomic status, and social support for the children. The studies on resilience also have been limited by small sample sizes but show promise in identifying potential protective factors that mediate the negative effects of witnessing domestic violence.
Effects of Domestic Violence on Children - Example Essays
What are the long-term effects on children who witness domestic violence?
Whether or not children are physically abused, they often suffer emotional and psychological trauma from living in homes where their fathers abuse their mothers. Children whose mothers are abused are denied the kind of home life that fosters healthy development. Children who grow up observing their mothers being abused, especially by their fathers, grow up with a role model of intimate relationships in which one person uses intimidation and violence over the other person to get their way. Because children have a natural tendency to identify with strength, they may ally themselves with the abuser and lose respect for their seemingly helpless mother. Abusers typically play into this by putting the mother down in front of her children and telling them that their mother is “crazy” or “stupid” and that they do not have to listen to her. Seeing their mothers treated with enormous disrespect, teaches children that they can disrespect women the way their fathers do.
Domestic violence is abusive behaviors conducted by either one or both partners involved in an intimate relationship. The abuse can be targeted at one of the partners or at the offspring. This includes wife or husband battering, child abuse and other abuse perpetrated to harm family members. On the other hand, stalking is a repeated behavior or an act of harassment, which involves the creation of an unwanted attention or making of unnecessary contact with a specific person or individual with an aim of creating fear or causing harm. These threats can be perpetrated directly or indirectly. Many cases of domestic violence have been directed to women and children. Because of the eminent challenges, effects and societal problems relating to domestic violence and stalking pose it is important that measures be put in place to address them objectively (Douglas, 2002). It is however critical that the perpetrators of the domestic violence (batterers) be made to account for any violent behavior (Whitcomb, 2002).Position Statement
The Australian government should fund and work to institute a better, more consistent framework of local-level institutional supports for the MH and well-being of children who witness domestic violence. The Targeted Community Care Program, under the The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, may be an appropriate vehicle for this initiative. The establishment of a separate program under FaHCSIA, however, would provide greater flexibility. It is essential that these children receive prompt, evidence-based supportive services after an incident. Childcare centres, schools, hospitals, and other social institutions that serve children should be provided with updated guidelines for recognizing the short-term effects on children exposed to violence. These guidelines would support improved screening measures and support the implementation of a more effective referral system that would rapidly deploy child MH specialists. The FaHCSIA should also establish a research program for the purpose of studying the short term effects of witness domestic violence on children, the personal factors that mediate the effect, and the most effective intervention strategies for minimizing harm.Background Information
Most estimates for the prevalence of domestic violence in Australia are relatively high compared to other developed nations. Among the general population, the best currently available statistics show that 23 percent of Australian women (who are or have been married, or in a serious relationship) have experienced domestic violence at some point in their lives. The prevalence of domestic violence with males as the victim is more difficult to determine because of various cultural and gender norms, but some experts expect that male victimization is probably on par with female victimization. Virtually all experts agree that statistical data gathered from police reports and even self-report surveys does not reflect the true extent of domestic violence. The majority of this violence goes unreported and unrecognized. Domestic violence victimization extends beyond the direct targets of violence. Children who witness domestic violence between parents or caretakers often experience significant trauma. The negative long-term effects of domestic exposure are well-documented, but there is also a great deal of evidence currently available detailing the short-term impact on children’s MH and wellbeing. Child witnesses may, in the aftermath of an incident, exhibit poor concentration and other indications of trauma, experience feelings of anxiety, guilt, and shame, and engage in aggressive behaviors, various internalizing behaviors, or externalizing behaviors in response. Yet not all children who witness domestic violence show such symptoms. For some, the response is simply internalized. Others, though, seem to be relatively ‘immune’ to detrimental short-term effects. The personal factor of resilience has been identified as perhaps the most significant variable in terms of how a child copes with the experience.