Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence

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Each year approximately 4.8 million acts of physical or sexual aggression are perpetrated against women while 2.9 million physically aggressive acts are perpetrated against men within the United States (Edleson, Ellerton, Seagren, Kirchberg, Schmidt & Ambrose, 2007). Many of these incidents take place in the presences of children, which make these figures even more disturbing (Evans, Davies & DiLillo, 2008). Research indicates that 40.2% of United States battered women responding in national surveys state that their children have witnessed one or more abusive events (Edleson et al., 2007). Overall 66% of research samples regarding childhood exposure to domestic violence reported to having direct exposure to the abuse (Barnett, Miller-Perrin & Perrin, 2011).

Prevalence of childhood exposure of domestic violence can be understood considering many different things such as the numbers of children exposed and their experiences, how exposure impacts children development, factors that increase risks or provide protection against the negative effects of exposure, and the types of interventions that can be implemented to mitigate deleterious effects (Osofsky, 2003). The two most widely cited two researchers Carlson and Straus developed estimates of childhood exposure to domestic violence. Based on studies of the number of households experiencing domestic violence each year, Carlson found that at least 3.3 million children yearly are at risk of exposure to parental violence (Herrenkohl, Sousa, Tajima, Herremkohl & Moylan, 2008; Edleson et al., 2007). Straus estimated an even higher level of exposure using retrospective accounts by adults in their teenage years. Stratus estimated that 10 million American teenagers were expose...

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...d exposure to adult domestic violence. Children and Youth Services Review , 29, 961-971.

Evans, S. E., Davies, C., & DiLillo, D. H. (2008). Exposure to domestic violence: A meta-analysis of child and adolescent outcomes. Aggression and Violent Beahvior, 13, 131-140.

Herrenkohl, T. I., Sousa, C., Tajima, E. A., Herremkohl, R. C., & Moylan, C. A. (2008). Intersection of child abuse and children's exposure to domestic violence. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 9(84), 84-99.

Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S. J. (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature. Child Abuse and Neglect, 32, 797-810.

Osofsky, J. D. (2003). Prevalence of children's exposure to domestic violence and child maltreatment: Implications for prevention and intervention. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 6(3), 161-170.
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