Children and Domestic Violence by Steve Cohen

Children and Domestic Violence by Steve Cohen - Children...

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Children and Domestic Violence Presentation by: Steve Cohen, MPAS, PA-C (Ft. Lauderdale FL) stevemc2@yahoo.com Based on: National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information (DHHS) Reprinted with permission. Scope of the Problem Domestic violence is a devastating social problem that impacts every segment of the population. While system responses are primarily targeted toward adult victims of abuse, increased attention is now being focused on the children who witness domestic violence . Studies estimate that 10 to 20 percent of children are at risk for exposure to domestic violence (Carlson, 2000). These findings translate into approximately 3.3 to 10 million children who witness the abuse of a parent or adult caregiver each year (Carlson, 1984; Straus and Gelles, 1990). Research also indicates children exposed to domestic violence are at an increased risk of being abused or neglected . A majority of studies reveal there are adult and child victims in 30 to 60 percent of families experiencing domestic violence (Appel and Holden, 1998; Edleson, 1999; Jaffe and Wolfe, 1990). Impact of Domestic Violence on Children Children who live with domestic violence face increased risks: the risk of exposure to traumatic events, the risk of neglect, the risk of being directly abused, and the risk of losing one or both of their parents. All of these may lead to negative outcomes for children and may affect their well-being, safety, and stability (Carlson, 2000; Edleson, 1999; Rossman, 2001). Childhood problems associated with exposure to domestic violence fall into three primary categories : Behavioral, social, and emotional problems. Higher levels of aggression, anger, hostility, oppositional behavior, and disobedience; fear, anxiety, withdrawal, and depression; poor peer, sibling, and social relationships; and low self-esteem. Cognitive and attitudinal problems. Lower cognitive functioning, poor school performance, lack of conflict resolution skills, limited problem solving skills, pro- violence attitudes, and belief in rigid gender stereotypes and male privilege. Long-term problems. Higher levels of adult depression and trauma symptoms and increased tolerance for and use of violence in adult relationships. Children's risk levels and reactions to domestic violence exist on a continuum where some children demonstrate enormous resiliency while others show signs of significant maladaptive adjustment (Carlson, 2000; Edleson, 1999; Hughes, Graham-Bermann & Gruber, 2001). Protective factors, such as social competence, intelligence, high self- esteem, outgoing temperament, strong sibling and peer relationships, and a supportive relationship with an adult, can help protect children from the adverse affects of exposure to domestic violence. Comprehensive assessment regarding the protective factors of children and the effects of
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Children and Domestic Violence by Steve Cohen - Children...

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