Prevalence of Children's Exposure to Domestic Violence and Child Maltreatment: Implications for Prevention and Intervention
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The purpose of this paper is to review research on the prevalence of children's exposure to domestic violence, to consider the available literature on the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment, and to gain more understanding about the impact of exposure on children. There is clear evidence indicating that both severe and moderate violence occurs frequently in homes among family members and that children are exposed to this violence. However, because of differing definitions of what constitutes domestic violence and variability in research methodologies for collecting the data, there are significant discrepancies in prevalence reports across studies. Of great concern is the immediate impact on the children and the long-term consequences for their later relationships. Fewer studies have been done on the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment. However, it is likely that children who live in homes where domestic violence occurs are more likely to be abused and neglected. On the basis of available research, there is little doubt that vast numbers of children are exposed to domestic violence and that children's responses vary widely depending on their risk and vulnerability, as well as the structure of their environments. A developmental risk and protective factors framework will be used to integrate the information on children's exposure to violence.
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