Early Intervention Foundation report into the impact of Domestic Violence

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.


Filed under publications

6 responses to “Early Intervention Foundation report into the impact of Domestic Violence

  1. This post is of particular importance to me because my children lived in it their whole life, until one year ago. The concerns listed therein are my own. Thank you!

  2. The impact domestic abuse has had on the families I have worked with covers multiple behaviours, a lot of professionals focus on only the aggressive behaviours, I have compiled a list of behaviours we have identified over the years these are:
    Conformer/never challenges
    Fake illness
    Kick off at school
    Lack of concentration
    Emotionally cut off
    Aggressive at home
    Self harm
    Takes risks
    Use sexual words under 5 years old
    Excel in education
    Sexually flirtatious
    Multiple partners
    Criminal behaviours
    Struggle in education
    Aggressive at school
    Peers are older
    Drug use
    Early pregnancy
    Run away
    Take control of the home when aggressor is not there or left
    Leave home in early teens
    Sexualised behaviour
    (this list increases into adulthood)
    Children may take on different behaviours with different people or environments. It is up to us as professional to identify and support the behaviours changes and beliefs of what they think is normal for the children and young people who have been effected by domestic abuse while not judging the family.
    I am pleased people are now recognising the full impact on families to move forward we also have to look at the family history to support the parents to move forward with the behaviours they have learnt or developed as children.
    It is a pity we were not contacted regarding the research while being undertaken, as we have worked holistically with families and the impact of domestic abuse for 7 years.
    Hopefully now each local authority will undertake training to understand the full impact on these families and take early intervention as standard practice, so we do not have to pick the further damage that is caused by not intervening and leaving these children/young people thinking ‘it must be ok as nobody is stopping it’, Also recognise that a 12 week program does not fit all the families needs, as distrust is also a major factor and this takes time to build for the families to give their true account of their home life for the professionals to identify the learning needs of the individual family.

    • Thanks Ann for your contribution. I think this shows us admirably how complicated the whole situation is, and the importance of viewing each child and family as unique individuals.

  3. In my country there is still difficulty seeing the child as a victim in a domestic violence situation (especially from the judicial system). The term “Invisible visible victim” of a visible violence, is “new” for a lot of institutions .

    Different researchers have pointed out the risk for the childrens who are exposed to domestic violence situations and how that exposure could have a direct relationship as a background to CPV.

    From this point of view, it is necessary to take preventive actions with children exposed to domestic violence to minimize damages and avoid problems later.

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