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June 17, 2013
Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

The National Center for Children Exposed to Violence reports that as many as 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence each year. The figure can be as low as three million, but it may be as high as 10 million according to the Center.

In a brand new study from the Case Western Reserve University, aggression in school-age children may be linked to children 3 years old and younger who witnessed domestic violence with their mother and their partners.

This study is unique because it reflects something other than the impact of recent exposure to violence. Up until now, very little information has been available regarding the long-term effect of violence from early life. It may actually be the first to look closely at the impact exposure to domestic violence has on the development of social behavior.

Megan Holmes, the assistant professor of social work at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland analyzed the behavior of 107 children exposed to intimate partner violence in the first three years of their lives, without any further exposure after that point. She then compared the outcome of these 107 children to 339 children who were never exposed to violence at all. Children’s behavior was followed four separate times over the course of 5 years, examining timing, duration and nature of their exposure to violence and how it affected aggressive behavior.

Holmes’ findings showed no behavioral differences between the 339 children who did not witness violence between the ages of 3 and 5. But the more frequently IPV (intimate partner violence) was witnessed by the 107 children, the more aggressive the behaviors became by the time these children reached school age. Those never exposed showed gradual decreases in aggression for the same age and time period.

Knowing about the delay “also gives social workers a window of opportunity between ages 3 and 5” in which “to help the children socialize and learn what is appropriate behavior,” said Holmes who specializes with mothers and children in domestic violence shelters. Her findings are reported in the spring issues of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Art Therapy

Art Therapy

Suggested interventions include art and play therapies, both known to help children work through violence they have been exposed to. Research supports the therapeutic benefits obtained through artistic self-expression and reflection for those experiencing illness, trauma and mental health problems as well as personal growth. Play therapists are trained to use the therapeutic powers of play for clients to help them prevent psychological difficulties and resolve them as well as achieve personal growth and development.

American Violence

American Violence

According to the United States Justice Department, violent crime rose by 18% in 2012 over 2011. The timing of this study and the need of effective interventions couldn’t be better.


I’m a licensed clinical social worker and have worked extensively as a counselor with children, adolescents, couples and families. I combine professional experience in the mental health field along with my love of writing to provide insight into real-life experiences and relationships. I hope my down-to-earth approach to living a happier, more meaningful life is easy to understand and just as easy to start implementing right away for positive results!

  1. More attention needs to brought to this violence against women and children!!!

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