The impact of the domestic violence to the child’s mental health

Written by on November 15, 2018

Domestic violence is a complex pattern of behavior that can include physical abuse (physical acts of violence), psychological abuse (psychological or verbal), sexual abuse and neglect. Domestic violence is defined as violence between current or former partners or between family members. It is widely regarded as a social problem, which occurs in all societies and among all individuals, regardless of the educational level or socio-economic class of the abusers or victims. It can have a significant impact on the family and the wider social environment as well as can greatly influence the child’s mental health.

Physical violence is defined as the behavior in which an individual hurts and causes physical pain deliberately to another person. Physical violence is seen as pushing, slapping, hitting, kicking, pulling hair, biting, throwing objects, and anything else that can cause pain, injury or mutilation.

Psychological violence can include humiliation, bruises, insults, threats, isolation of the victim by loved ones, banning access to family income, control. Psychological violence is equally severe and occurs in almost all cases of violence either alone or in combination with other forms of violence.

Sexual violence or harassment may include attempted rape, forced exposure of the victim to pornographic material, and, more generally, the imposition of a sexual act or behavior that makes the victims sexually exploited.

Neglect is defined as the failure of a parent to provide the child with the necessary care that is important for its developmental needs. On the basis of social stereotypes, neglect can be considered when the caregiver does not provide the child with basic needs (e.g. food, clothes, water) as well as minor needs such as emotional proximity, safety, tenderness and supervision.

A victim of violence within the family is the child who is abused in any of the above ways by one and / or both parents or any other family member. The effects of domestic violence on children’s mental health, either as witnesses of violence or as direct recipients, vary and have a serious impact on the child’s well-being. Non-early intervention can prolong the appearance of effects even in adulthood.

More generally, bringing up a child (either as a witness or as a victim of violence) in an abusive environment is a very serious issue. The effects of violence can disrupt the child’s psychosocial development and in many cases it is long-lasting to lead the child to an adult with severe psychopathology problems. A child growing up in a violent environment is more likely to develop emotional instability and insecurity, fear, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, sleep and nutrition disorders.

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