SAVANNAH, Ga.– Latrelle Huff says her twins were conceived by rape.
Now she blamesdomestic violence for her children's health problems.
The Georgia woman says she had been in an abusive,on-and-off relationship for six years when she became pregnant. Whilepregnant, she says, the conflict continued.Huff spent 25 of 37 weeks on bed rest, she says,due in part to rectal bleeding her doctors said was caused by stress.
Two days after thetwins were born in 2014, Huff says, the fathertook a swing at her. Hewas holding their newborn son.They were still in the hospital.Huff had just delivered by Cesarean section."He was so angry at me because my milk wouldn't come in," Huff, 39,told USA TODAY.
The boy was born with"floppy baby syndrome," a muscular condition doctorssaid might be attributed to abuse during pregnancy. Both children struggle with health issues, including speechdisorders, and have spent monthsin instructional therapy tolearn how to follow directions.
The father denies sexually assaulting or abusing Huff.He was charged last year with assault and battery against her; his lawyer says he completed a pretrial program in September to avoid a conviction. In 2015, a grand jury in Savannah declined to indict him on sexual assault charges.
New research is giving scientists more insight into the far-reaching and long-lasting harms of domestic violencetothechildrenwho grow uparoundit – including a startling finding:Witnessing abuse carries the same risk of harm to children's mental healthand learning as being abuseddirectly.
Brain imaging in infants shows thatexposure to domestic violence –even astheyare sleeping, orin utero– can reduceparts of the brain, changeits overall structure andaffect the way itscircuits work together.
Studies show thatwhenbabies born to mothers who weresubjectedto violenceduring pregnancybecome adults, they have three timesas muchinflammation in their bodies asthose whose mothers weren't.Inflammation causesa muchhigher risk of poor health,and a fargreaterlikelihood of depression.
And research also shows thatthese childrenare as likely to have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as soldiers returning from war.
Psychologist Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, past president of theAmerican Psychological Association's division of trauma psychology, said "babies are like a blank slate."
"If a mother is beaten while pregnant, there is a chance the baby will be injured, delivered prematurely, and there is a stack of other things that can happen– including physiological programming of the hyperactive stress system that leads to inflammation as an adult," she said.
"It's like when a soldier comes back from combat, hears a click and hits the ground."
Researchers estimatethat between 4.5 million and 15 million children are exposed to physical violence in the home.Verbal and emotional abuse in the homeis more difficult to track.
Social workers, health care providers and academics have long tracked theeffects of trauma sufferedby children growing up in urban neighborhoods with frequent gunfireand other violence.But outside of medical journals,there has beenlittlereportingonthe effectof the more common domestic violenceon the millions of childrenwho growup on the residential battlefields where it occurs.
Neuroscientist Tanja Jovanovic directs the Grady Trauma Project, a research institute based at Emory University in Atlanta.The risk of PTSD fromdomestic violence is high, she says,becauseit's a"betrayal by someone who is supposed to be to a protector."
Making matters worse, Jovanovicsaid, domestic violenceoften eliminates the "buffering effect of another positive adult," becausetheadult who is targeted can't provide comfort to the children who witness it.
Psychologist Abigail Gewirtz says domestic violence can feel scarier than war. Gewirtz is the director of the Institute of TranslationalResearch in Children's Mental Health at the University of Minnesota.It's"one of the most terrifying forms of violence because it happens in a place which is supposed to be safe," shesaid."Children are totally powerless, especially very young children.They are totally dependent on their parents.”
Domestic violence 'code of silence' contributes to prevalence across races, classes
'Toxic stress' on children can harm their lifelong learning, mental and physical health
Exposure also reducesthe potential of babies and toddlers to learn.Alissa Huth-Bocks, a child psychologist at University Hospitalsin Cleveland,said the "most damaging time" is during pregnancy and thefirst three yearsof life, when development "takes the biggest hit at the brain level."
Negative consequences continue well into adulthood.Among childhood adversities, Ronald Kessler says,those involving familyviolenceinflictthe worst long-term effects.
Kessler isa professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, the principal investigator of the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey–the first nationally representative surveyof mental disorders in the United States. He isco-director of the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative.
"One of the long-term effects of childhood adversity is that they create emotional scars that get reopened when people are exposed to traumas in adulthood– leading to adult PTSD," Kessler said.
For people of color, especially African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, the effects of trauma are often magnified, federally funded researchshows, becausetheyare more likely to suffer fromsystemic racism, discrimination and microaggressions.
The nonprofit research organization Child Trends reported last year that6percent of kidsnationally–about 4.5million children–hadseen or heard parents or other adults slap, hit, kick or puncheach other in the home. Fourpercent hadbeen exposed to or victims of neighborhood violence.
The results were based on a survey of parents about their children.In five states – Arizona, Mississippi, Arkansas, Hawaii and Tennessee –at least 10 percent of children had beenexposed to domestic violence at home.
Child Trends saysparentslikely under-report violence in the home out ofembarrassment or fear ofstigma.The research doesn'tinclude the psychological and emotional abuse,including gaslighting, that many women and some men told USA TODAY was far worse for them and their children to live with.
The findings, children's health advocates say, underscoreaneed forimproved detection and prevention of domestic violence,andbetter treatment of abuse survivors and their children inthe health care system, schoolsand thecourts.
Georgia, Huff's home, is among the states where the law recognizesthe effects of domestic violence on children. The state has created criminal chargesfor domestic violencethat happens anywhere in a house where children are present, not just when it occurs in front of the child.
In other ways, specialistssay, the law and courtshave a long way to go in recognizing the impact on children's well-being.Parents accused or even convicted of domestic violencein many cases are able togain unsupervised visits with their children, or partial orfullpartial custody –even when children are afraid ofthe offender.
Whenparents in an abusive relationship separate,conditions for their children can becomeeven riskier. The nonprofit group Center for Judicial Excellence, which monitorsfamily courts, found thatmore than650 children werekilledby a parent in a "divorce, separation, custody, visitation, child support situation" from 2008 through 2018.
Domestic violence crossesracial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines.Cheryl Branch, executive director at Savannah'sSAFE women's shelter, saysthecalls she gets from abused women in The Landings, an exclusive gated community,are as horrific as those that come from low-income clients.
She sayswomen are afraid to leave husbands whothreaten to spend whatever it takes to gain full custody of the children. When shelter residents go back to their domestic abusers – asmanydo – Branchisrequired to notify childprotection authorities, just as she wouldbe if a parent returned to someonewho hassexuallyabused his or herchild.
Huth-Bocks, the Cleveland psychologist, says researchers' ability to study human brain development has "exploded in the last five to six years."So has data on the mental health and addiction effects ofadverse childhood experiences, or ACEs–10 harmful experiences or conditions, includingdomestic violence,tracked by health professionals.
Generations of violence
In San Diego,the children of now-divorced Eric and Yadira Sanchez – Angel, Noel and their 15-year-old brother–say they canvividly recallvisiting their maternal grandparents'house when they were young.
They talk about seeing their grandmother punch cabinet doors andthrowdrinking glasses. She and their grandfather wouldhit each other in front of them, they say.The grandparents could not be reached for comment.
Later, Angel and Noelsay, they watched astheir mother chased their father with a kitchen knife and smashed a piece of a woodacross his back.In December 2011, police arrested Yadira Sanchez on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and felony spousal battery, but prosecutors declined to pursue the charges.
As the alleged violence escalated, the children's grades and mental health declined, a review of school and medical records shows. (USA TODAY is not identifying the youngest son because he is a minor.)
"When these high levels of stress happen too often and too intensely, it creates a toxic pathway that alters how our brains and bodies operate andhow we think, learn and behave," said psychologist Sheri Madigan, a professor at the University of Calgary in Canada.
Yadira Sanchez did not respond to requests for comment. Her lawyer, Ethan Marcus, acknowledgesthat the boys were exposed to domestic violence.But heclaims Eric Sanchez's efforts to separate the boys from their mother likely hurt them far more.
"This is not a case where physical violence was the primary factor," Marcus said.
Change to brain,body
Researchers who followed 1,420 childrenin North Carolina from age9 to 30 foundthat exposureto domestic violence in the home hadthe sameserious and life-changing effects asexperiencing the abuse directly.
The American Medical Association published thestudyin November.University of Vermont psychologist William Copeland wasits lead author.These children "have the same type of poor outcomes 10, 20 years down the road" as children who "experience it directly themselves," he said.
A global study out last year of more than 125,000 people from all socioeconomic backgroundsfound children who witnessed domestic violence had the same risk and incidence of PTSD as soldiers returning from war.
Researchpresented in November at theInternational Society for Traumatic Stress Studies shows that children exposed at an early ageto trauma, including domestic violence,have a smaller hippocampus –the brain area related to learning and memory formation – a risk factor for PTSD.
Other research showsthat the amygdala– the part of the brain that processes emotions, memory and fear –in children who have been exposed to violence reactsmore strongly to threats thanin children who haven't.
Eamon McCrory, a professor of developmental neuroscience at University College London, saysthechanges make it more difficult for these children to get along with others. Otherstudies have shown that exposingchildren to violence leads to lower grades and a greater probability of dropping out of school.
Psychologist and professor Katie McLaughlin directstheStress and Development Labat Harvard."This change in size and likely the function of the hippocampus could be one potential mechanism that's underlying those differences in school achievement,"shesaid.The brain worksto help protect from danger. But when children aredealing withadversity, their brains can be overwhelmed.
Catholic high schools around San Diego began scoutingAngel Sanchezwhen he was in middle school, according to Phillip Lomax, his coach at the time.The strapping middle linebacker–hewas 6-foot-talland225 pounds in high school – was hard to miss.
Problem was,Sanchez said,just ashis athletic abilities began gainingnotice, his home life deterioratedand his grades dropped.
His mother stayed out late at night, his father found other men's numbers on her phone, and a pattern of erratic and often violent behavior againstthe boysand their father developed,Eric Sanchez said in requests forrestraining ordersand police reports.
The three boys each had an Individual Education Programdetailing how they best learn given their disabilities.Angel has a speech impairment that affects his oral and written communication, reading comprehensionand math problem solving.Noelwas grantedaccommodations to receive extra time for homework and tests.The youngest boy struggleswith reading and writing.All the boys were given intensive tutoring,language therapy and case managers.
As tensions between the parents rose,Angel'sgrade point average dropped from 3.0 at the beginning of his sixth grade to 1.3by the start of 7th grade, school transcripts show.
That was the year–2008– thattheir mother chased their father around a table with a steak knife andstabbedthe padded kitchen stools, Eric Sanchez and the boystold childwelfare workers.
Noel Sanchez, now 18, recalls that period."Oh man,I can still see and hear what happened thosenights. That’s not going to go anywhere," hesaid.
In children exposed to domestic violence, the parts of the brain that detect threats and anticipate pain– the anterior insula and amygdala – are strongly affected by threatening faces during brain imaging.
Researchersat University College Londonwrote in 2011 thatthe resultsmight predicta later risk factor foranxiety disorders and increasing vulnerabilityto mental illness.A more recent study by the same authors showed this heightened responsiveness was present even when children weren't consciously aware ofa threat.
"If you've grown up in a situation that's dangerous, you're much more likely to react to something that's actually totally safe (as if it were)a potential threat," McLaughlin said.
The two younger Sanchez boys went back and forth between their feuding parents. Angel stayed with his father.School progress reportsshow thatNoel missed 57 classesin the first three monthsof 2017. His younger brother missed 137.
In 2016, Yadira Sanchez was granted a restraining order against Angel.Her lawyer, Ethan Marcus, saysAngel kept trying to take his brothers away from their mother.Yadira lost custody of the boysin March 2017.
Lomax, the coach, says the chaos hurt Angel'sfuture plans."If you’d asked me, when he was going into 9th grade, what Angel’s potentialas a linebacker was, he was certainly a Division I contender, for sure," he said.
Eric Sanchez, the father, says one high school withdrew a scholarshipofferafterit sawAngel's grades. He missed practice often during high school during the parents' custody fight.
Noel Sanchez says that the turmoil before their parents separated, andstays with their mother after the split, were so traumaticthat heattempted suicide in 2014 and considered it at other times."I was just trying to hurt myself to let the pain go away," he said.
More:After a suicide, here’s what happens to the people left behind
From mother to daughter
Debbie Ricker says domestic violence looms over three generations ofher family.Both the Californiawoman and her daughterDesiree say itled toDesiree'sdrug and alcohol abuse, and othermental and physical healthstruggles.
Rickerfought a 15-year custody battle with her ex-husband. It ended only when herson turned 18.She saysthe emotional abuse she suffered andher childrenwitnessed still affects them."My ex was very open with his abuse toward me," she said. "The abuse occurred in front of our kids, friends, family."
Desiree,now 29,said "I never heard him be nice to her. He belittled her every step of the way."
MarcLoehren, Debbie Ricker's ex-husband and Desiree's father,denies theirallegations.He wasnever charged with a crime against them.“My two children had a wonderful childhood," hetold USA TODAY."There was no violence in this household. ... if anything, the mom hit me with a car.”
He acknowledges thechildren have been to multiple psychologists. Buthecites Ricker's family background and marriages before and after their relationship.He alleges that Ricker tried to undermine his relationship with the children.
"The children are fairly disturbed from anything that the mom has told them– which is alienation," Loehren said.
During an interview for a family evaluation during the custody fight, LoehrensaidRicker was scaring the children by calling the police when he allegedly violated restraining orders.
Based on the evaluator's recommendation, afamily court judge ordered the parents into joint counseling. The judgesaid eachhad to educate themselves on"child development and high parental conflict."
Ricker, 62, says sheasked for a divorce. She saysLoehrensuggested the two of them sit down and explain it to the children.She says he openedhe conversationby saying"Mommy doesn't like daddy anymore, so she is breaking our family apart."The kids started screaming and crying, Ricker says. Then they started to hit her.
Desiree started to gain weight when she was about 5.A therapist would later attributethe weight gain to the family dysfunction.When Desiree was12, the family doctortold Ricker that her daughterhad pre-diabetes."It just made me cry," Ricker says.
In high school, Desireesays, she gained about 100 pounds – weight she still carries.At 12, Desireesays, shebegan an abusive relationship with a boyfriend who also came froma violent home.Itlasted, on and off, until she was 27. The ex-boyfriend was never charged with abusing her.
Studies showthatchildhood adversitiescan lead to obesity later in life.Duke University researchers reported last year that children aged 12 to 15 were far more likely toeat poorly and less likely to get physical activity after exposure to domestic violence.
'These things go together'
It's common for childrenwho areexposed to domestic violence to also suffer otheradverse childhood experiences.ACEsare linked to a range of mental and physical health consequences throughout life, up to and including early death.
“If there's domestic violence in the household, it'sstatistically likely that there's also physical abuse and emotional abuse and maybe drug abuse or alcohol abuse," said Canan Karatekin, a professor of the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. "These things go together.”
Huff took on the role of protector of her younger siblings. It carried its own burden.
During the summer before fifth grade, she says, sheremembers holding one of her sisters in her lap as another was rushed to the hospital after the first of several suicide attempts."I had to grow up fast and be a second mom to my siblings,"she says. "It made me stronger. ...I was determined not to be like my sister or my mother."
But that was nearly impossible.
Huff and her mother saydomestic violence spans generations in their family.
Denise Boyd was caring for a year-old daughter while she was pregnant with Huff at 21.Boyd was having a breakdown, she says, after years living with the abusive father of her children.
The father could not be reached for comment. He was never charged with a crime against Boyd.
Boyd's mother went to take her hometo Georgia.Once in her parents' home, Boyd says, she rarely went out.On rare occasions when she did, she would hide on the floor of the family car."I felt like Iwasn’t the same anymore," Boyd said. "I didn't know what was happening to me."
Huff was born in August 1979.As alittle girl, shedevelopeda speech disorder.In eighth grade, Huff says,shewas so anxiousshe tried to run away.She was sent briefly to a juvenile detention facility.
David Murphey, director of the Child Trends DataBank, describes domestic violence as a type of toxic stresslinked tohealth problems later in life.Domestic violence rewires thebrain, he said, harmingexecutive function– "the ability to weigh options and make well-considered choices."
How can communities best addressabuse?
Detecting, treating and preventing exposure to domestic abuse are the keys to reducing it, specialistssay.
Certified nurse midwifePamela Glenn,field education supervisor at Minneapolis'sWalden University School of Nursing, has screened her patients for abusefor 30 years.
She says health care professionals shouldcreate a safe space for patients, don't judge or blame, and avoid using the word "abuse."
“Most people, when they hear the word 'abuse,'they automatically think physical violence," Glennsaid."The abuse may be emotional abuse only–but that can be extremely damaging to people's health.”
She asksquestions such as “Does your partner support you?" And "Do you ever find that your partner is constantly checking up on you when you're not together and almost interrogating you at times?"If she suspects abuse, she says, she offers resourcessuch as information foran advocate or safe place.
Specialists say screening alone is not enough."Screening is the great first step, but it's only a first step,"said JessBartlett, a trauma researcher with Child Trends. "Too often welook at what kids have experienced, but not how they function."She sayshealth care providersshouldlook at children's needs, andwhether the communityhas the resources to respond.
Murphey agrees.“Unless there are adequate networks of services and referral practices to follow the results up,"he said, "what you're doing is you're really setting up an unfortunate situation where you know you've got lots of problems but you don't have services in place yet to respond to them.”
With treatment, researchers wrote in a report for the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, children exposed to early trauma including domestic violence can overcome theexperiences without developing stress-related disorders.
Often the support of parents, friends, family andschool can help alleviate the effects of stress and trauma in children, according to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
"A strong relationship with a caring, nonviolent parent is one of the most important factors in helping children grow in a positive way despite their experiences,"the group wrote ina 2014 report.
But Huth-Bocks saidtheparents she works with are often "preoccupied keeping everyone alive and can't always be the most sensitive parent.
"There’s bigger fish to fry."
Huff says it was a violent world thather twins entered in July 2014.
She says thefather was holding the boy two days after their birth when he took a swing at her. The girl was the crib behind Huff, she says. She says she had to hold onto the crib to keep it from falling.
The father, Ignacio Ramirez Vallejo, denies her account."It never happened," he told USA TODAY. He was not charged in the alleged incident.“I’ve been in court many times," he said. "Latrelle tried to accuse me for many different things. We were together almost sevenyears. They never find me guilty.”
Ramirez Vallejo says he did not sexually assaultHuff.
His lawyer, A.J. Balbo, gave USA TODAY copies of letters he says Huff wrote to Ramirez Vallejo two years before the twins' birthsaying she wanted to have children with him.“Everything they say about me is not true," Ignacio Ramirez said. "I’m a Christian.”
Jeanne Fell, a nurse practitioner who specializes in neurology and has treated Huff's twins,says thepregnancy was about as complicated as they come.Huff had severe vomiting during much of the pregnancyandrequired intravenous medication.Acesarean section was scheduled at 37 weeks. A typical pregnancy lasts40.
"It's been pure chaos since these kids have been born," Fell said."She does her very best, but certainly there are limits to how much she can give of herself to the children."
Both babies were poor eaters, Fell says. The boy hadhyptonia, orfloppy baby syndrome,which can be caused by nerve or brain damage. He's nowon a powerful antipsychotic drug to help with aggression or and self injury, a review of his medical records show.Fellsaid he's "done really well and is much more calm," but if he goes off the drug, she said, he hits others and tries to escape.
Huff has been getting reports from herdaughter's school, including one reviewed by USA TODAY from Octoberin which she was described as "extra tearful today" and accused of "mooning" several other children.
Neither child sleeps more than five hours a night, Huff says. Before he started on his current medication, Huff's son rarely slept more than three hours.
Huffhas a master's degree in mental health counseling andis pursuing a second master's in social work. She recently lost her job as an armed security guard aftermissing work to attend toher children's health appointmentsShe's now looking for a job in mental health case work.
An undocumented immigrant, Ramirez-Vallejowas apprehended inSavannah not long after PresidentDonald Trump took office, anImmigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said.His case is pending in immigration court.He has argued he should be allowed to stay in this country because he has children here.He sees the children every other weekend for two full days, but is not allowed to spend the night with them.
Huff says she tries to focus on the future.
"My dreamis for my children to not grow up in a dysfunctional family, as I did and as their father did," she said. "I want both children to feel safe and to be able to grow in an environment where they will be successful, stable and happy.
"The new generation needs an opportunity to live life without continuing the cycle."
If you or your child is experiencing domestic violence and/or mental health problems:
- Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)or online
- Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
- Visit theNational Child Traumatic Stress Networkto learn about resources and treatment.
Reporting for this article was supported by the Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being, a program of the USC AnnenbergCenter for Health Journalism.
If you are interested in connecting with people online who have overcome or are struggling with issues mentioned in this story, join USA TODAY’s "I Survived It" Facebook support group.
For example, exposure to violence can result in 'regressive' symptoms such as increased bedwetting, delayed language development and more anxiety over separation from parents (Osofsky, 1995, cited in Margolin & Gordis, 2000).How does domestic violence affect a child's education? ›
Among pre-school children it can cause separation anxiety from the non-abusing parent, commonly their mother. Pre-school children's restricted ability for coping due to their young age means that behavioral and psychological disengagement is one way they react to inter-parental violence (Baker and Cunningham, 2009).What impact does domestic violence have on the victim? ›
Victims experience anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, inability to trust others, flashbacks, eating and sleeping disorders, and emotional detachment. Considering or attempting suicide has been reported in 16% of victims, and self-harming in 13% of victims.Why would domestic violence impact on the wellbeing of a child? ›
They may become aggressive or they may internalise their distress and withdraw from other people. They may have a lowered sense of self-worth. Older children may begin to play truant, start to use alcohol or drugs, begin to self-harm by taking overdoses or cutting themselves or have an eating disorder.What happens when children are exposed to violence? ›
 Exposure to violence can harm a child's emotional, psychological and even physical development. Children exposed to violence are more likely to have difficulty in school, abuse drugs or alcohol, act aggressively, suffer from depression or other mental health problems and engage in criminal behavior as adults.What affect the Does witnessing violence have on a child's brain? ›
Evidence shows that exposure to IPV increases the child's attention towards threatening stimuli, a behavioral pattern that is known to increase the risk to develop internalizing problems, including social and general anxiety, social withdrawal and depression (Kiel and Buss, 2011; Luebbe et al., 2011; Miller, 2015).What is violence in your own words? ›
Violence is often understood as the use or threat of force that can result in injury, harm, deprivation or even death. It may be physical, verbal or psychological.Why should we learn about domestic violence? ›
Victims of domestic violence can gain safety and independence by learning about this form of abuse within a relationship. Violent or potentially violent partners may not believe they can benefit from domestic violence training, though.What is the purpose of studying domestic violence? ›
Awareness regarding domestic violence needs to be made, and law enforcement regarding it needs to be made stringent. Rehabilitation of victims of domestic/spousal violence should also be considered on priority.What is the impact of violence on individuals? ›
Psychiatric disorders including depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are found at higher rates among youth exposed to community violence. Many children experience more than one symptom or disorder.
Settle arguments with words, not fists or weapons. Don't stand around and form an audience. Learn safe routes for walking in the neighborhood, and know good places to seek help. Trust your feelings, and if there's a sense of danger, get away fast.How does domestic violence affect society? ›
Studies show that living with domestic violence can cause physical and emotional harm to children and young people in the following ways: ongoing anxiety and depression. emotional distress. eating and sleeping disturbances.How can we stop child violence? ›
Promotion of personal safety among children, child protection policies in schools and increased awareness of parents are essential to prevent sexual abuse of children. Younger children tend to be more vulnerable and specific approaches aimed at strengthen the protective role of families and education environments.How do you teach children about violence? ›
- Encourage your kids to talk about what they see and hear. ...
- Limit exposure to violence. ...
- Reassure your child. ...
- Stand firm. ...
- Let your kids know your standards. ...
- Offer tools to cope with feelings. ...
- Talk about groups. ...
- Educate your kids.
Consequences include increased incidences of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide; increased risk of cardiovascular disease; and premature mortality. The health consequences of violence vary with the age and sex of the victim as well as the form of violence.What are the causes of violence against children? ›
Violence against children is associated with multiple risk factors. Some of the risk factors are child- related. For example, children with disabilities, orphaned children and children with absentee parents are at greater risk of violence. Social-cultural norms have also been identified as drivers of violence.How does violence affect children's mental health? ›
Violence has a severe and wide-ranging impact on children's mental health, including behavioral and emotional disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders; impairments to cognitive functioning; poor academic achievement and anti-social behaviors, clinical depression, anxiety and self-harm behaviours, including suicide.How many children are affected by violence? ›
Child abuse and neglect are common.
At least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect in the past year in the United States.
Trauma-induced changes to the brain can result in varying degrees of cognitive impairment and emotional dysregulation that can lead to a host of problems, including difficulty with attention and focus, learning disabilities, low self-esteem, impaired social skills, and sleep disturbances (Nemeroff, 2016).How does domestic violence affect development? ›
Domestic violence has a demonstrable, long-term impact on adult victims as well as children who witness violence. Children and youth who are exposed to domestic violence experience emotional, mental, and social damage that can affect their developmental growth. It also has adverse effects on the community at large.
The adolescent may feel extreme guilt over not being able to prevent the domestic violence from occurring, or, in some cases, feeling they are somehow to blame for the family's problems. They may also experience reactions similar to those of adults, including: Flashbacks to the episodes of domestic violence.What is the main cause of violence? ›
There are many causes of violence including “frustration, exposure to violent media, violence in the home or neighbourhood and a tendency to see other people's actions as hostile even when they're not.Why we should stop violence? ›
Violence has lifelong consequences.
Toxic stress associated with repeated exposure to violence in early childhood can interfere with healthy brain development, and can lead to aggressive and anti-social behaviours, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviour and criminal activity.
- Section 1: Getting started: Develop leadership, school policies and.
- coordination methods. ...
- Section 3: Prevent violence through curriculum-based activities.
- Section 4: Work with teachers on values and beliefs and train them.
- in positive discipline and classroom management.
Domestic violence is a serious social problem and a national health concern with significant negative impacts on individuals and our communities. It is a primary cause of injury to women in the United States.Where is domestic violence most common? ›
1. Oklahoma. About 49.1% of Oklahoma women and 40.7% of Oklahoma men experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, including intimate partner physical violence, intimate partner rape, or intimate partner stalking. This is the highest in the United States.When did domestic violence become a social issue? ›
Family violence became an issue with the influence of the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1960's and 1970's. As the years progressed, domestic violence in American society began to be seen as a violent criminal act. As the attitude toward family violence began changing so did the criminal justice system.How teachers can help abused students? ›
Try to give them extra attention but not so obviously that other learners feel that the child is being favoured. Adopt a child-centered approach and assure them that you are available should they need to discuss a problem. Communicate in a sensitive way. Build a trusting relationship and positive self-esteem.How does domestic violence affect academic performance? ›
In relation to academic functioning, children who experience higher levels of violence have lower abilities in reading, mathematics, and general knowledge (Silverstein, Augustyn, Cabral, & Zuckerman, 2006). Imitation plays a fundamental role for children in social and academic settings.What is the objective of violence? ›
The second of the two types of violence is objective violence, defined as violence 'inherent in a system: not only direct physical violence, but also the more subtle forms of coercion that sustain relations of domination and exploitation, including the threat of violence' (Žižek 2009, p. 8).
Consequences include increased incidences of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide; increased risk of cardiovascular disease; and premature mortality. The health consequences of violence vary with the age and sex of the victim as well as the form of violence.What impact does violence have on individual and community health and safety? ›
The results tell us that youth who live in more violent, lower income, and less safe communities have worse mental health. Youth living in neighborhoods with more homicides have worse mental health and more severe PTSD symptoms, even when controlling for the relative contribution of direct violence exposure.What are the effects of emotional abuse? ›
Emotional abuse can affect a child's emotional development, including: feeling, expressing and controlling emotions. lacking confidence or causing anger problems. finding it difficult to make and maintain healthy relationships later in life.What is the solution of violence? ›
Love and compassion are the solution to violence. Banning weapons isn't the solution. Settling individual wars is also not the solution; that only produces temporary peace. The solution is a change of attitude toward spiritual solutions, which will promote the welfare of all humans.How can youth violence affect your life? ›
Youth violence can have serious and lasting effects on young people's physical, mental, and social health. It can harm development and contribute to impaired decision-making, learning challenges, decreased connections to peers and adults, and trouble coping with stress.What are the social effects of violence? ›
Accordingly, these reactions put them at increased risk of developing mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experiencing negative health, social and educational outcomes and engaging in risky behaviours (e.g., substance abuse, aggression) throughout childhood ...How does domestic violence affect women's mental health? ›
These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. One study shows that the likelihood of abused women experiencing PTSD is seven times higher than for those who have not been abused. The risk of abused women developing depression and anxiety is also high.How does domestic violence affect women's health? ›
Domestic violence is a major contributor to the ill health of women. It has serious consequences on women's mental and physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health. These include injuries, gynecological problems, temporary or permanent disabilities, depression and suicide, amongst others.How can we protect children? ›
- Teach Your Child the Power of "No"
- Tell Your Child What to Do.
- Don't Focus on "Stranger Danger"
- Teach Them About Boundaries.
- Designate Trusted Adults.
- Explain What to Never Do.
- Don't Instill Fear.
- Use Resources for Kids.
> Some strategies to use with aggression include:
- Avoid too much movement and convey non-aggressive intentions in your body language – avoid waving arms as this can exacerbate confrontation.
- Use pauses between responses. ...
- Remember that silence can be very effective.
“Parents can help children gain a sense of personal control by talking openly about violence and personal safety.” Acts of violence in schools and other public places have stunned the nation. Children, in particular, may experience anxiety, fear, and a sense of personal risk.How can parents and families help support and prevent youth violence? ›
Parents and Families Can:
Learn about links between teens' experiences with violence and their health. Talk with teens about violence and ask how you can support them. Reach out to local programs to learn effective parenting practices.
 Exposure to violence can harm a child's emotional, psychological and even physical development. Children exposed to violence are more likely to have difficulty in school, abuse drugs or alcohol, act aggressively, suffer from depression or other mental health problems and engage in criminal behavior as adults.What is violence in your own words? ›
Violence is often understood as the use or threat of force that can result in injury, harm, deprivation or even death. It may be physical, verbal or psychological.How does domestic violence affect the individual? ›
Domestic violence affects one's thoughts, feelings and behaviors and can significantly impact one's mental stability. Increased anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms are commonly observed among survivors of domestic violence.How does domestic violence affect development? ›
Domestic violence and abuse hurts children's self-esteem. They may not participate in school activities or get good grades, have fewer friends than others, and get into trouble more often. They also may have a lot of headaches and stomachaches.What are the physical psychological emotional social and behavioral impacts that can be seen in a child who witnesses domestic violence on a daily basis? ›
Previous studies have shown general behavioral, cognitive, and emotional implications when children are exposed to DV or IPV including; irritability, sleep problems, fear of being alone, immaturity, language development, poor concentration, aggressiveness, antisocial behaviors, anxiety, depression, violence behaviors, ...How does domestic violence affect mental health? ›
These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. One study shows that the likelihood of abused women experiencing PTSD is seven times higher than for those who have not been abused. The risk of abused women developing depression and anxiety is also high.How does domestic violence affect academic performance? ›
In relation to academic functioning, children who experience higher levels of violence have lower abilities in reading, mathematics, and general knowledge (Silverstein, Augustyn, Cabral, & Zuckerman, 2006). Imitation plays a fundamental role for children in social and academic settings.What is violence in your own words? ›
Violence is often understood as the use or threat of force that can result in injury, harm, deprivation or even death. It may be physical, verbal or psychological.
Consequences include increased incidences of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and suicide; increased risk of cardiovascular disease; and premature mortality. The health consequences of violence vary with the age and sex of the victim as well as the form of violence.How can we stop child violence? ›
Promotion of personal safety among children, child protection policies in schools and increased awareness of parents are essential to prevent sexual abuse of children. Younger children tend to be more vulnerable and specific approaches aimed at strengthen the protective role of families and education environments.What are the emotional and mental consequences of witnessing and/or experiencing violence? ›
The anxious child raised in a toxic, abusive environment may grow to become a depressed adult. The trauma of routinely witnessing domestic violence places children at a high risk of developing depression, sadness, concentration issues, and other symptoms of depression into adulthood.How does violence affect children's mental health? ›
Violence has a severe and wide-ranging impact on children's mental health, including behavioral and emotional disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders; impairments to cognitive functioning; poor academic achievement and anti-social behaviors, clinical depression, anxiety and self-harm behaviours, including suicide.How does domestic violence affect society? ›
Studies show that living with domestic violence can cause physical and emotional harm to children and young people in the following ways: ongoing anxiety and depression. emotional distress. eating and sleeping disturbances.How does emotional abuse affect a person? ›
Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects. This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your mental health. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shame, guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more.What is the impact of emotional abuse? ›
Emotional abuse can affect a child's emotional development, including: feeling, expressing and controlling emotions. lacking confidence or causing anger problems. finding it difficult to make and maintain healthy relationships later in life.How does abuse affect women's mental health? ›
Women who have gone through abuse or other trauma have a higher risk of developing a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Trauma and abuse are never your fault. You can get help to heal the physical, mental, and emotional scars of trauma and abuse.How do you think you can stop violence at your school? ›
- Section 1: Getting started: Develop leadership, school policies and.
- coordination methods. ...
- Section 3: Prevent violence through curriculum-based activities.
- Section 4: Work with teachers on values and beliefs and train them.
- in positive discipline and classroom management.
Victims of domestic violence can gain safety and independence by learning about this form of abuse within a relationship. Violent or potentially violent partners may not believe they can benefit from domestic violence training, though.
By providing education in schools about topics related to domestic violence, schools can help prevent incidents and create a culture where aggression and control of intimate partners is no longer such common behavior in our society.