The Domestic Violence Effect on Children

The role of family is determined by its characteristics as a social institution and a small social group. It embodies a set of social norms, sanctions, and patterns of behavior governing the relationships among relatives. Domestic violence is a very common destructive phenomenon that concerns all strata of the population, embracing people of different levels of education and national characteristics. Women and children are often exposed to violence in their families, and become the victims in society. Kids become victims both during the act of direct violence and in case of overseeing the aggression or hard conflict between adults. NatSCEV stresses that, in 2011, in the US, 39% of children had witnessed violence in their homes and social communities during their lifetime. Thus, annually 3.3 million kids face domestic violence indirectly. Children who have witnessed domestic aggression receive psychological trauma which is similar to the effect of direct physical violence and need protection of their rights by the state and society. The current position of state and federal governments do not satisfy the needs of abused children, and their role should be improved, in order to protect children from the aggression of their parents. The current paper aims to discuss the phenomena of domestic violence effect on children.
The Problem of Domestic Violence on Children
In general, domestic violence on children is a hot topic, and the number of serious crimes against children has no tendency to decrease. The phenomenon of child abuse is particularly common in certain social groups of the population at risk families, living in poverty in the war zones, disasters, and catastrophes. It is observed in families, where the parents consider that physical punishment refracts disobedience and pride. Parents, who commit violence against their own child, as a rule, are not aware of their children’s psychological problems and needs. Teachers and social workers believe that many parents who are prone to violence in family were also abused in their childhood, and it became a stereotype of behaving in a family. The phenomenon of abuse and neglect of children has attracted the attention of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and law. Moreover, it is considered one of the most important public health problems and a leading cause of child injuries and child mortality in many countries.
The increasing number of cases of violence against children reveals the existing connection with the general increase in violence in society, the increase of cases of violent crimes, vandalism, delinquency, suicides, and accidents with a fatal outcome. In professional literature, there are many definitions of what has recently become known as the phenomenon of “abuse and neglect of children.” There are four forms of violence: physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual. However, there is no common concept that can be used by all professionals, judicial authorities, psychologists, and health care workers. Furthermore, a characteristic feature of domestic violence on children is the fact that it occurs regularly over a long period of time. Researchers distinguish the principal specific factors of domestic violence as an inequality of forces of an offender and a victim.
The Individual and Social Implications of the Problem
Domestic violence is a socially dangerous phenomenon, because it contributes to the degradation and destruction of society, starting with the basics. A child-witness of domestic violence absorbs the experience of an unhealthy relationship. Watching adults, seeing their mutual anger and aggression, and feeling their neglect, a kid learns a few bitter lessons. The subconscious mind acquires confidence that he or she does not deserve respect. The child has the impression that the good can be learned through punishment and violence. It is convinced that the sufferings should not be taken to heart but ignored. Accordingly to the child’s view, cruelty becomes the manifestation of love, and the senses negation is the normal healthy phenomenon. However, the greatest frustration comes from an understanding that there is no protection from adults. If parents cannot protect themselves from their partners, the child becomes even more defenseless. Thus, the kid grows up with deviant tendencies and willingness to experience the similar methods of influence other members of society. It becomes the cause of rising crime and other dire consequences. The violence, which originates from a family, gradually integrates to the whole society, because the psychologically crippled child has no much chance to create the strong and healthy family after growing up.
Commonly, each child suffers from multiple forms of violence. Although researchers prefer to deal with the differences which can easily be determined, however, in practice, a rare form of child abuse exists in its purest form. The child may experience more than one form of abuse in the particular case of violence or may experience different forms of ill-treatment at different times. For example, if a child is physically injured as a result of sexual violence, he/she should be diagnosed as a child with combined injuries, experiencing physical and sexual abuse. Often, a child abuse is reported as a case of neglect that can ruin his/her psyche and lead to personality disorders or mental illnesses. Aggressive parents have low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and a sense of vulnerability. Their inadequate behavior may provoke the ill-behavior of children. Such children experience stress due to a lack of satisfaction with food, clothing, education, and medical care.
The Experts’ Opinion
Sociologists and psychologists have come to the unequivocal conclusion that domestic violence leads to delays in mental and physical development of a child. Children who observe violence at home have significant irregularities in the cerebral cortex and nervous system. It causes the psychosocial maladaptation in society.
The experience of domestic violence has a disastrous imprint on the future. Indirect aggression in conjunction with direct aggression towards a child becomes a reason for the problems in adolescence. Boys are more prone to external manifestation of emotions – externalizing the behavior difficulties. In contrast, girls suffer from the internalizing disorders. Becomes teenagers, children-witnesses of violence are subjected to depressions and have the problems with emotional control.
Many experts assume that domestic violence against children causes many problems in the childhood development. As a result, abused children may experience delay in physical development, impulsiveness, explosiveness, bad habits, anger among others. Many of them make attempts to commit suicide because they lose the purpose in life, particularly, adolescents.
They also face serious healthcare disorders, such as nightmares, sleep disturbances, fear of the dark, people, fear of anger, etc. Violence may become the main cause of depression, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. Furthermore, neglected children lack attention to their basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. They are not gaining recommended weight because they are constantly hungry, and, consequently, it forces them to beg for food or steal it. Many abused children in poor countries leave their homes and live without shelters on their heads and do not go to school.
Analyzing the problem of ill-treatment and poor care, the current research suggests that the main actors of domestic violence against children are women. It is explained by the fact that mothers spend more time with their children than fathers. Some of them show a bad performance of their duties due to different reasons, such as drug or alcohol addiction, low socio-economic status, the lack of education, poverty, unemployment among other factors. Children from the above mentioned families are the most vulnerable to abuse. They do not have real childhood, and many of them should work in their early ages. Oftentimes, poor care of children is explained by the fact of mothers’ social exclusion after the appearance of a child. Admittedly, the fall of moral qualities is inherent in poor families.
The Social Response and the Public Position
Children’s involvement in the domestic violence acts is one of the most pressing issues. The purpose of the state is to reduce the exposure of children to violence, from 60.6 percent in 2008 to 54.5 percent in 2020. Moreover, in 2015 the US government has allocated more than $ 40 million on programs to assist children and adolescents who have experienced domestic violence. In America, at the legislative level, the child presence during the commission of an act of domestic violence is considered as an aggravating factor when it is made the legal decisions about the arrest and detention.
The described state approaches forced public to look for a solution actively. For Thus, numerous centers for victims of violence were established, and the programs to help children in overcoming the post-stress syndrome were developed. Accordingly to a survey of the population, children are in need of increased protection because any form of violence is equivalent to the ill-treatment. A mother, who continues living with an aggressor, put her kid at risk. Children are constantly experiencing fear and shame, hiding what is happening in the family. They also feel a responsibility to protect victims of violence and suffer if they cannot intervene and stop it. This rigid social position confirms that the American society makes conscious steps to understand the issue. However, the personal involvement in the protection of children is mostly episodic participation.
Domestic violence against children causes not only irreparable harm to their health but also entails heavy social consequences. The offense of cruelty to children makes them poorly educated, marginalized, unable to work, raise a family, and to be good parents. The most dangerous consequence is that victims may become perpetrators in a future lifetime. Domestic violence that has socio-cultural nature is often an integral part of stereotyped ideas about the nature of family relationships, perceived with education, supported by external impressions, and thus, represents the only possible model. Abused children believe that these relationships are the norm in society, and, as a result, they pose a threat to society and to their peers at school. The literature reveals that violence against children is closely related to social stress in families and society. Among many issues that can raise tensions and lead to violence, there may be the disagreement among spouses in the upbringing of children, financial difficulties, unemployment, and the need for long-term care. The constant irritation can be partly explained by a chronic concern about unresolved issues and mutually exclusive demands.
The Effectiveness of Public Policies and other Less Formal Responses
Protection of kids on a personal level is the weakest link in the child protection system. People prefer not to interfere in the conflicts of relatives, friends, or neighbors, even knowing that it harms children. This problem needs attention and eradication. Most responsible citizens participate in the child protection programs and become members of various associations. For example, government agency Child welfare (CW) is actively supporting domestic violence (DV) services, which form the basis of social participation in addressing the issue. The organization coordinates services to improve care for kids in foster care, the timely provision of assistance to victims of violence, promote the strengthening of families, the development of rehabilitation programs, etc.
Another government initiative is the National child traumatic stress network focuses on such violence, as psychological trauma, stress, and depression. It maintains close contact with the public and encourages it to take part in resolving the issue. Also, it is developing a plan of psychological interventions to restore the child’s psyche. An organization supports social services, by providing comprehensive information about domestic violence (types, causes, effects, and ways to overcome the effects). Thus, it supports the social services and some responsible people, who work in public associations and centers.
After the introduction of National Research Council (NRC) report in 1993, numerous attempts were made to change federal and state laws as well as policies related to domestic violence on children. The negative impact of crime in the area of family relationships causes the formation among offenders a sense of permissiveness, impunity, disregard as to the law and to generally accepted standards of morality. However, the most dangerous outcome of any family conflicts is the negative impact on children. Family quarrels are the main cause of displacement of values of adolescents. Physical abuse of parents forms cruelty and malice in the character of a minor, and it forms a breeding ground for their further involvement in the unlawful conduct.
Law-enforcement bodies continue to strengthen their efforts in combating domestic abuse against children. Legislation officers use different opportunities, activating cooperation with concerned bodies for crime prevention in the sphere of family relationships. Law-enforcement bodies deal with the early identification of children who are brought up in dysfunctional families, provide adequate preventive monitoring of previously convicted persons for domestic offenses, interact with local committees, housing and operating agencies. Law enforcement authorities monitor citizens who are leading an antisocial, parasitic way of life, abusing alcohol, and are family brawlers.
The Alternative Solution to the Issue
There could be several alternatives to protect children’s rights. Firstly, the social attention should be focused on education and promotion of family values in the middle and high school. Special classes on the proper response to the cruel behavior of adults can not only save the psyche of a child but the life as well. The essential tool towards the prevention of domestic violence against children may be parents’ education.
Secondly, trust centers, where each child could tell about the unhealthy situation at home without publicity, should be organized in every school. If kids know that they can talk about trouble occurred at home and get help, they will endure a situation bolder and easier. Moreover, parents will not enjoy the silence of their child.
Thirdly, the US law considers the presence of children in acts of violence as aggravating factors. I propose to treat it as a separate crime that should be punished by the large penalty transferred to the bank account of the abused or affected a child (which could be available only for the ordered social service to assist the kid), or the imprisonment for several years. This method can be dangerous because of biased decision regarding the aggressor, enormous compensation, or excessive sentence. Each case must be considered individually by a council of the CW professionals and DV services advocates to avoid such results.
Fourthly, it is appropriate to deprive the aggressor of parental rights for one to several years. An authorized organization should clarify this issue with the other relatives of the child to let him or her avoid living in an orphanage or with a punished member of a family. Financially providing a child, the service will monitor the situation. Parents deprived of their rights should be forced to pass a course of psychotherapy to restore the parental rights and to get the opportunity to communicate with their child. I hope that such measures should awaken the consciousness of parents to protect the child’s mind from the irreversible destruction.
The Consequences of Alternative Response to the Problem of Domestic Violence against Children
Numerous social agencies are working to prevent children domestic abuse. Thus, their efforts are directed at the preventive measures and children’s assistance. Counselors monitor children at risk, protecting their physical and psychological health. Educators and healthcare workers believe that it is necessary to eradicate all possible attempts of abuse at the early stages. In order to implement these efforts, social workers communicate with such children, trying to raise their self-esteem and the ability to escape from difficult situations. Different studies indicate the importance of cooperation between children, parents, and those who work with children, e.g. teachers, social workers, etc. Furthermore, the federal governments should prepare programs directed on prevention of sexual exploitation of children. In some Asian countries, sexual exploitation is a common thing, and the reason for this is poverty of their families. In many cases, brothers send their sisters to serve rich men from the developed countries. Therefore, such a concept as “sexual tourism” is often associated with sexual exploitation of children.
Children, who experience sexual abuse in their families, need psychological support and individual therapy. Oftentimes, these children do not have stable households, and they cannot share their emotions with friends, teachers, and other close people. Counselling agencies may be the only ones that can offer emotional support. However, they do not have enough financing for a more sustainable care. Many agencies lack time and resources to dedicate their efforts to the victims of abuse. Accordingly, such children cannot fully rely on different agencies and programs, and the best solution for them is law enforcement. Social workers should educate children and explain them their rights. Many experts consider that a limited social security system supports the risk of children’s violence by their parents, guardians, and other individuals, who take care of them.
Domestic violence causes irreparable harm to the psyche of a child, regardless of its type and direction. Indirect violence is not less dangerous than a direct one since the moral wounds heal much longer than the physical injuries. The core consequence of the violence is the loss of child’s confidence, humiliation, and guilt for the adults’ behavior, and a lot of other destructive feelings. Child experienced violence can grow socially dangerous and unhealthy personalities. The U.S. law, as well as society, has long recognized domestic violence as one of the key threats to modern society. The alternative solutions to the issue could be the thematic education and the trust centers in schools and the tightening punishment measures for parents. The settlement of issue should be carried out under the auspices of the responsible social service. To fulfill these tasks, federal and state governments should pay more attention to this issue, which seems to be hidden due to moral issues and family affairs.
Mason Dillon is a talented writer at Whose hobby is to transfer his thought to the paper sheets.

Dillon, M. 2020, The Domestic Violence Effect on Children, Mason Dillon.

Tags: Domestic Violence,