Child Exposure to Domestic Violence
Leslie R Williams
May 6, 2014
Child Exposure to Domestic Violence
What is domestic violence? Domestic violence can be defined as behaviors used by one in a relationship to control the other. Partners can be married or not married; heterosexual, gay or lesbian; living together, separated or dating. Domestic violence also includes emotional abuse. Those who are involved in domestic abuse at times don’t recognize who is affected by the abuse outside of themselves.
Children are often exposed to domestic violence unintentionally but they seemed to be the ones most harmed. Domestic violence is a personal crime that is committed against another person. The impact of domestic violence on children is very severe. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to experience social, behavioral and emotional problems throughout their adolescents and possibly throughout their adulthood. Children learn from adults and important people in their life and they tend to mimic what they see. When a child is constantly exposed to anger, hostility, physical and emotional abuse they have the tendency to react in the same way when they are involved in a situation with peers in school, social settings and within the home. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to have cognitive and attitudinal problems due to what they have viewed within the home. Social Behaviors and Emotional Problems
Not all children will react the same way when exposed to domestic violence and their reaction can depend on the age and gender. Children who witness domestic violence display more anxiety, low self esteem, depression, anger, and temperament problems compared to those who are not exposed to domestic violence. Exposure can cause a child to blame themselves for the domestic violence especially if they hear the arguing and are brought up within the situation. They may feel as if they will be abandoned, helpless and embarrassed. Behavioral concerns can arise when a child is exposes to DV. A child will withdraw, become aggressive or passive, begin to skip school or refuse to go to school, become parentified (take on the role of the parent), lie out of fear, attention seeking, bedwetting/nightmares, manipulation and out of control behavior are some behavioral concerns a child may display.
These behaviors are often times witnessed by family members, school teachers, child care providers and family friends but they may not be aware of what the child is being exposed to. Cognitive and Attitudinal
According to the American Coalition Against Domestic Violence children begin to develop attitudinal concerns that are more severe than a child who has not been exposed to domestic violence. Adolescent who have been exposed to domestic violence are more likely to isolate themselves, have difficulties with developing healthy relationship with peers or adults, inability to trust others especially adults, poor problem solving skills, passivity or bullying and the biggest concern is becoming a victim or perpetrator themselves. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are known to test lower than others and lack the ability to problem solve. A child who has a failure to thrive due to something that is preventable needs assistance with understanding that what is going on is not their fault. Criminological Theory of Domestic Violence
There is no one theory that explains why domestic violence takes place but studies have shown that there are factors that may lead up to domestic violence. In the past it has been stated that the culture of violence theory plays a role in domestic violence. The culture of violence theory is a theory that believes that subcultures develop norms that allow the use of physical violence. Another theory is the evolutionary theory that claims that society has evolved...
References: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
American Coalition Against Domestic Violence
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