Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Cal Sate East Bay
Running Head: EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 2
Domestic violence is widespread not just throughout our country but throughout the world. After reviewing the effects it has on children it is evident that this issue demands more attention. Domestic violence has been researched for decades and the common thread found amongst studies is the harsh physical, psychological, and emotional effects it has on children whom are merely innocent bystanders in this battle field they call home. Studies also cover the developmental difficulties these children face and signs to look for when a child may be witnessing a parent being abuse or worse, being abused as well. Lastly, as the most important result of research, it is discussed ways to help these children of victimization.
Running Head: EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 3
The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Domestic violence has manifested its destructive cycle throughout society and who it affects and damages the most is what Joy Osofsky refers to as its “invisible victims”, the children. Violence in the family is defined by Horner (2005) by a variety of names: intimate partner abuse, family violence, wife beating, bettering, marital abuse, and partner abuse, to name a few (pg. 206). Domestic violence is not any single behavior but rather a pattern of many physical, sexual, and/or psychological behaviors perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner. Violence between adult partners occurs in all social classes, all ethnic groups and cultures, all age groups, in disabled as well as able bodied, and in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships (Hall, 1998, pg 1). Research shows us the different way children deal with the abuse or witness of abuse, by differentiating external and internal behavior problems. To describe risk factors for and outcomes of domestic violence, Berrios (1991) analyzed data from standardized interviews with 218 victims of domestic violence who sought assistance from the Emergency Department at the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center (pg. 133). These medical records and interviews were a medium for Berrios to statistically provide numbers that showed children who had physical effects from the abuse. This included bruises, laceration, burning or scolding, and other permanent injuries. Author Gail Hornor used her source from the Boston City Hospital records and experience to describe in her research the Running Head: EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 4
more emotional and psychological effects. For adolescents, particularly those who have experienced violence exposure throughout their lives, high levels of aggression and acting out are common, accompanied by anxiety, behavior problems, school problems, truancy, and revenge seeking (Honor, 2005, pg. 209). They may become deadened to feelings and pain, with resultant constrictions in emotional development (Honor, 2005, pg.209). Or they may attach themselves to peer groups and gangs as substitute family and incorporate violence as a method of dealing with disputes or frustration (Bell& Jenkins, 1991; Oarsons, 1994; Pynooa, 1993 Prothrow-Stith, 1991). A common thread between the articles is the audience intended for the research to be recognized by. Victim recognition and referral to appropriate agencies could be improved if primary care physicians were more aware of the prevalence, severity, frequency of occurrence, and typical presentation of domestic violence (Berrios, 1991, pg. 135). More so, it is noted the caution to take when a professional or organization is trying to intervene when they domestic violence evident. It is imperative that primary care providers working with children, including pediatric nurse practitioners, understand the dynamics of domestic violence, recognize domestic...