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Children who see domestic violence

Updated on October 3, 2011

Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment often occur together. On in four females encounter domestic violence in there lifetime. There are over 3 million children who whitness domestic violence. Children can often suffer from emotional and physical damage.

For many children, questions about home life may be hard to talk about, especially if the children has been "warned" or threatened by a family member to refrain from "talking to anyone" about events that took place in the family. Referrals to the appropriate school personnel could be the first step in helping the child. When there is a suggestion of domestic violence with a student, involve the school psychologist or social worker. Suspicion of child abuse is required to be reported to the local child protection agency by teachers and other school personnel.

Male children who whitness domestic violence tend to have more aggresive behaviors then girls who tend to withdrawl and suffer from depression. Children who are exposed to domestic violence, especially repeated incidents of violence, are at risk for many difficulties, both at the time and in the future. These include problems with sleeping, eating and other basic bodily functions; depression, aggressiveness, anxiety and other problems in regulating emotions; difficulties with family and peer relationships; and problems with attention, concentration and school performance.

More than a third of children who have witnessed one or more acts of domestic violence also experiencing maltreatment, compared to only 9 percent of non-exposed children and more than half (57 percent) who are exposed to domestic violence were also victims of maltreatment. Children who grow up in homes with physically violent parents are not just at risk of being physically assaulted. They are also far more likely to experience all other forms of maltreatment, including neglect, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse.

The man in the police report is Albert Reynolds. I had two children by him who have whitnessed many years of domestic violence. When I left him 8 years ago I went into a shelter eight months pregnant. He is currently being charged with neglect in Cattaraugus county. My children suffer from many of the signs of whitnessing domestic violence and I hope the county does something about him.


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