What Is Domestic Abuse? A continuum of behaviour ranging from verbal abuse, through threats & intimidation, manipulative behaviour, physical & sexual assault, to rape and even homicide. (DOH)
What Is Domestic Abuse? Physical, emotional, sexual & other abuse by someone (usually, but not always a man) of a person (usually but not always a woman) with whom they have or had had some kind of intimate relationship such as marriage, in order to maintain power & control over the person. (Women’s aid)
Facts & Figures At least 190,000 women affected each year.
50% of homicides of women are by the women’s partner or ex-partner. 20% of all murder victims are women killed by their partner or ex-partner. On average women suffer DA for 7 years before ending the relationship.
Facts & Figures Children of women sufferers of DA are at much higher risk of child abuse. Children who witness DA are significantly more likely to exhibit behavioural problems, both as children and in adult life.
Facts & Figures Children witnessing DA exhibit the same emotional & behavioural problems as do children who are being abused.
DA in Pregnancy High incidence of miscarriage / TOP.
Higher incidence of still birth. Premature labour more likely. Increased incidence of smoking / alcohol / drug misuse.
Domestic Abuse & Child Abuse
33-70% of children from families where DA occurs experience child abuse, usually by the same violent man. 40% of child abuse cases are associated with violence to the mother. Children who witness domestic violence are at increased risk of maladaption.
Effects on Children Depression. Suicide. Alcohol & drug problems.
School problems Truancy Poor performance Social problems Shame & embarrassment about family. Tendency to get into “serious” relationships early to escape from home. Depression. Suicide. Alcohol & drug problems. Confusion about gender roles. Physical injuries. Physically intervening to protect mother.
Effects on Children Advanced maturity & sense of responsibility.
Feelings of guilt or shame. Aggression or anger to mother. Bed wetting. Nightmares. Sleep disturbance. Eating problems. Self-harm. Low self esteem.
If the Children Don’t See It?
DA can include actual or threats to harm the children as part of the man’s control strategy. 90% of incidences children are in the same or adjacent room. Living with DA & the impact on mothers causes distress, confusion & disruption to children. There is an overlap between sexual abuse of children & DA of partner (control).
Related Issues Stays in B&B / Refuges often mean risk to health & safety, disrupted education, & sometimes sharing bathrooms/kitchens with male offenders and drug users.
Related Issues Where mother and child are being abused by the same man, child protection work is often ineffective for protecting both child & mother.
Related Issues Men are almost routinely granted contact orders for their children, whether or not they are violent. Thus Children Act contact orders undermine other child protection work as they create the circumstances for a violent man to continue to abuse his partner and child(ren).
DA & Child Death DA is prominent in many cases of child death since 1974,(Maria Colwell, Sukina Hammond, Toni Dales, Kimberley Carlisle, Victoria Climbie etc). Significance often not understood or acknowledged by professionals. Only since the 1990’s that debate has occurred on the relationship between DA and child abuse. ……Why?
Asking the Question
Thanks to Sue Troughton for the foregoing
Effects on the Foetus Increased low birth weight, foetal injury and death. Effects of attempted suicide, alcohol, smoking, drugs, infections & anaemia. May suffer bruising, broken bones, stab wounds or death.
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