The importance of intervening early on to support families experiencing domestic violence was underlined again last week with the launch of the report from the Early Intervention Foundation, Domestic Violence and Abuse, which considers the impact on children of witnessing such violence. It’s hard to believe that we once minimised the harm of such experience, provided children were in another room at the time. The children themselves could have told a different story of course. While recognising that progression from witness to perpetrator is far from inevitable, the report warns of the dangers of not intervening, and urges work to enable children to process their experiences and make more healthy relationships for themselves. Previous experience of domestic violence has been found in many studies to be strongly correlated with parent abuse, though by no means the only or greatest cause.
“The report finds that children who have witnessed Domestic Violence between their parents display increased fear, inhibition, depression, as well as high levels of aggression and antisocial behaviour which can last not only into their teenage years, but into adulthood too. Because of this long-lasting damage, the Early Intervention Foundation suggests that it is now vital to take further action to protect children from the impact of parental Domestic Violence and Abuse (DV&A), and to ensure the next generation of couples and parents understand and experience healthier relationships.”
A summary of the report, plus a clip from an ITVDaybreak interview with Erin Pizzey and links to radio coverage can be found on the EIF website.
More can be found about attitudinal transmission between generations from the recently published findings of the Boys to Men research project.