Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 41-57

First online:

Beyond over- and under-control: Behavioral observations of shelter children

  • Valerie E. CoppingAffiliated withChild and Adolescent Services, Hamilton-Wentworth Regional Department of Public Health Services

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


A review of the available research on child witnesses of family violence reveals inconsistent results. It is proposed that this is due in part to varying methodologies including oversimplified data categories and unreliable sources of report. The current study utilizes a longitudinal naturalistic observation format of 75 children in 5 women's shelters. Results show first, the complexity of behaviors, second, fluctuating positive behaviors, third, the overall decline of negative behaviors, and fourth, the shelter worker's role as the victims' primary object. Conclusions emphasize the importance of early childhood development, the need for clinical support to child victims of violence, and the need for counselling models to facilitate the changes in child victims' behaviors.

Key Words

child witnesses violence behaviors attachment