Children who experience domestic violence may develop internalizing symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, and withdrawal. According to Macknin (2010), girls are more likely to display internalized symptoms than boys. Exposure to domestic violence during childhood is associated to complex trauma across the lifespan. Complex trauma refers to the experience of chronic, multiple, and prolonged exposure to developmentally traumatic events (Macknin, 2010). According to Howard (2013), children that are exposed to domestic violence at home are approximately two to four times more likely to display clinically significant problems than children who are not exposed to domestic violence at home (p. 12). Children that come from violent homes are 30-40% at a higher risk for psychopathology (Hornor, 2005, p. 208).
When one parent flees, the child may experience distress, having to change schools, and leave their friends and social networks without being able to explain to their peers the reason behind the sudden changes. According to Macknin (2010), children that are exposed to violence in their families and/or homes are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. Feelings of anxiety can include apprehension, tension, nervousness, and activation of the autonomic nervous system (Macknin, 2010). In addition, physiological symptoms of anxiety can include rapid heart rate, sweating, increased blood pressure, nausea, restlessness, dryness in the mouth, vertigo, and trouble breathing (Macknin, 2010).
Children may also feel as if there was little to no safety in the world, in which they may create cognitive schemas, such as assimilation or accommodation, about themselves and their world. The first trust that is created between ...
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...actors that contribute to domestic violence other than the ones listed in this paper, which may include, but are not limited to: community violence, poverty, level of education (low education), age of parents, divorce, death, illness, unemployment, incarceration, and parents who use inappropriate discipline for the child’s age. Domestic violence can have many causes and factors, rather than pertain to just one single cause. In order to ensure positive outcomes and safety for children who are living with domestic violence, the most effect intervention is to have a plan that consists of trained domestic violence support, plan a package of support with risk assessment, safety planning and advocacy for the parent who is not abusing the child and/or experiencing the domestic violence themselves, and protect and support the child (Hester, Pearson, & Harwin, 2006, p. 173).
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