Every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. It has been reported that men who as children witnessed their parents’ domestic violence were twice as likely to abuse their own wives than sons of nonviolent parents. Child witnesses to domestic violence often have life-long effects. Please read the data below regarding child witnesses to domestic violence.
•Between 3.3 million and 25 million children experience domestic violence in their homes each year.
•The average age of a homeless person in the U.S. is 9 years old. 50 percent of homeless women and children are fleeing abuse in the home.
•Children who live in homes where their mothers are battered are 50% more likely to be beaten themselves. Research indicates that 50 to 70 percent of men who physically abuse their wives also frequently abuse their children.
•In one study, 27% of domestic homicide victims were children. When children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under age 10; 56% are under age 2. 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.
•Girls from homes with domestic violence are 6.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted and more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
•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.
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 U.S.
•They are sometimes injured during violent incidents in the home or the family
•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.
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