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Impact of Children’s Exposure to IPV

Info: 6820 words (27 pages) Dissertation
Published: 13th Dec 2019

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Tagged: ChildrenMedicine


A growing attention has been paid by researchers over decades, to the experiences of children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) which not only affects children’s well-being but also parenting in such type of family set up. It is of so much importance because parental well-being both physically, emotionally and psychologically determines the way parenting roles are performed thus determining the effects on children as well.  Stewart, MacMillan, and Wathen (2013) defined intimate partner violence as aphysical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. Stewart and colleagues described it as an unrenowned problem that can have an enormous impact on the physical, mental health and well-being of women, men, and children. This implies that in any form of intimate partner violence, not only the directly involved individuals are affected but it affects those around them as well. Children in intimate partner violence families may also suffer the consequences of it even though they are not directly involved.  McDonald, Jouriles, Ramisetty-Mikler, Caetano, and Green (2006)made a rough estimate of 15.5 million American youth who live in families where IPV has taken place in the past years. This implies that there are lots of innocent children living in an IPV contained family who are ignorantly suffering from the effects of IPV on children even though they seem not to be directly engaged.

Among many others, children’s exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is increasingly recognized as a type of child maltreatment that has a level of impairment similar to other types of abuse and neglect. Evans, Davies, and Dilillo (2008) recognized the evident risk of exposure to intimate partner violence that children now face.  Intimate partner violence occurs among many couples but it is saddening that most families experiencing intimate partner violence do not consider its effects on children even though those children have been directly or indirectly involved. Intimate partner violence not only affects those directly involved, but also children who are witnesses to it; the effects of IPV on young bystanders can be detrimental to their emotional and physical well-beings.

The main objective of this paper is to examine the connection between intimate partner violence and its generational impact on the behavioral functioning and general wellbeing of children in it. Also, to examine the effect of intimate partner violence on victims’ parenting roles and function. It is interesting to know that partner violence has effects on the children merely because some children may be present while it is occurring, others may be directly involved in it while trying to intervene and some may even see or hear it. In any of these forms of participation, a fact that exist is that these children are directly or indirectly affected.

Present Study

This paper seeks to increase the understanding about complex association between intimate partner violence, parenting behavior and children’s wellbeing most especially the behavioral and cognitive functioning of children who witness these kinds of relationship. It also seeks to examine the short and long term effects of IPV on children after they have been exposed to it. The objective of this paper is to examine critically the effects of domestic violence on children’s behavioral functioning and to examine the ways in which these children could be helped out indicating the intervention measures.

This paper sets to conduct a critical analysis of relevant literature, identify and discuss reported association that occurred between intimate partner violence, parenting behaviors and children’s wellbeing. The research method used in this paper is content analysis. Critical analyses of the findings were used to investigate the impacts of intimate partner violence on children and parenting behaviors of those who lived in such kind of family. Various literatures, reports and peer reviewed journals were reviewed for the purpose of this paper. The unit of analysis used was text of articles that focused on intimate partner violence and its effects on children and parenting behaviors. For this content analysis, articles were searched through MSVU library searching tools and Google scholar.

Significance of Children’s Wellbeing and Parenting Behavior

Children go through different stages of developmental milestones, in other to, achieve a healthy development, Artz, Jackson, Rossiter, Nijdam-Jones, Geczy, and Porteous (2014) consideredexposure to intimate partner violence as a form of child maltreatment, and that children who are affected are often also the victims of targeted child abuse (p.493). This implies that children who witness IPV either from parents or who live in families where IPV is the order of the day have the likelihood of being a child abuse victim, indicating the lack of safety for children who grow up in such environment. Artz et al.(2014) indicated that there is an often exposure to violence by children who lives in homes with domestic violence, this could be witnessed when there is a physical violence between parents or caregivers; when children see the effects of violence such as sustained injuries or destroyed home appliances; hear about it or otherwise being made aware of the violence. Witnessing violence is distressing and deregulating for children, and thus weakens their safety both physically and psychologically. A witness of an occurrence could be as harmful as experiencing it, thus same in the case of IPV, children who witness it suffers so much as experiencing it. Children who live in such situation of partner violence can suffer immediate and permanent physical harm which might be detrimental to their health and may sometimes lead to death if the violence involves a physical fighting. They can also experience an immediate and long-term emotional, behavioral and developmental problems, although some effects may occur years after the witnessing act, this could be referred to as post-traumatic disorder, because it is taking place probably years after the real incidence had occurred. Because children are counted to be part of the family, they live and stay in it, participates one way or the other in things happening, they benefit and suffer from the good and bad of the family respectively. As long as IPV occurs in a family where children are, then the likelihood of such children been exposed to it will likely be on a high rate. Nouer, Mackey, Tipton, Miller, and Connor (2014) found that in the United States, children’s exposure to physical violence between adult intimate partners is widely known as been a highly prevalent and serious problem. Witnessing partner violence between parents can predispose a child to risks of maladjustment when compared to other children who live in a violent free and peaceful family. For instance, a study carried out by Jouriles, Norwood, McDonald, and Peters (2001)revealed that children who live in families characterized by frequent and severe partner violence exhibit more behavioral and emotional problems than children in nonviolent families. This makes a huge gap between children who witnesses it and those who do not.

Children’s Exposure to IPV

It will be interesting to understand the concept of children’s exposure to IPV in other to fully understand its effects and impacts on children’s wellbeing. Understanding what the exposure is all about increases one’s knowledge about IPV and how children are directly or indirectly involved. Although, parents often believe that they have sheltered their children away from intimate partner violence, but the Royal Canadian Police (2012) reported that children see or hear some 40% to 80% of IPV incidences and that these children suffer the same consequences as those who are directly involved in an abuse (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 2012).  Carpenter and Stacks (2009) documented that the issue of intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major social and public health concern, a major reason for this is particularly because of its harmful effects on the health and well-being of both victims and their children.

Gilbert, Widom, Browne, Fergusson, and Janson (2009)stated that children’s exposure to intimate partner violence include children who see, hear or otherwise being aware of any incident of abuse or threatening behavior, this could be between adults who are currently or were previously in an intimate relationship. This implies that children do not have to be fully and physically involved in IPV before one can say they are exposed to it, mere seeing and hearing make a child an exposed type.

Children experiencing IPV did not have a voice in their family. Stowe (2010) mentioned that in other, for children and youth voices to be heard, adults must stop seeing children as children and they should start thinking that we are all humans (humanization) and we all have rights of expression irrespective of age.

Freire (2000) described the teacher-student relationship as narrative education which is a form of banking education. Freire (2000) further described banking education as an act of depositing where the student (which can be likened to children and youth) are depositories and the teacher (which can be likened to adults) are depositor and this can also be referred to act of ideology of oppression. Also, Freire (2000) stated that students that store deposits( children and youth that their voices are not heard) given to them develop less critical consciousness which they need to solve world issues and challenges.

Onset of Exposure

The experience of the effects of intimate partner violence on children does not just show up when they are of age, it is saddening to know that the effects even start at early childhood stage. Bogat, DeJonghe, Levendosky, Davidson, and Von Eye (2006) supported the fact that many of the children who experience serious exposure to IPV starts such from infancy. This implies the earlier stage of life at which such children are initiated to the negative experience of partner violence occurring between parents and caregivers. Fusco and Fantuzzo (2009) also wrote in support of this, that the majority of children who witness IPV are under the age of six. This is still a very tender age for a child to be exposed to such a negative experience as violence between parents. The early and lasting exposure places children at risk for developing problems that can impede their development behaviorally, emotionally and socially. Such children find it difficult coping with social functioning when they grow as they mix with other children in the school, play grounds or any social functions. Children like this, feels withdrawn, lonely and keeping to self because this is what they have grown up with right from childhood, the childhood exposure to partner violence now start reflecting as they age. So also the good things of life, it is being discovered that what an individual is being exposed to at childhood tells a lot on what will be manifested as such individual age. The early onset exposure to partner violence occurring in a family where children witness it has been found to be associated with maladaptive courses of child development resulting in a less optimal outlook throughout their entire lifespan (Carpenter & Stacks, 2009).

Effects of IPV on Children

Although partner violence may be considered happening behind the closed doors but its effects are publicly seen on the children. Children who reside in such kind of family are indirectly affected in one way or the other. These effects may sometimes be physical, psychological, emotionally and thus affecting the behavioral functioning of some children.

Graham-Bermann, Castor, Miller, and Howell (2012) highlighted some of the impairments associated with exposure to IPV among children, these impairments ranges from emotional, social, behavioral problems and may include internal and external disorders, as well as academic and relationship problems.

Social and Behavioral Effects

Wathen and MacMillan (2013) determined that there are some adverse outcomes that occur as a result of exposure to IPV in childhood such as increased risk of psychological, social, emotional, and behavioral problems. They identified some of the behavioral problems to include mood and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance abuse and school related problems which can occur in childhood stage as well as at the adolescent stage.

Margolin and Gordis (2004)determined that children who have witnessed violence in the past year between parents or caregivers experiencing violence do have a broad variety of short term social adjustment and emotional difficulties which includes behavioral problems. This emphasizes a long term aftermath effects of violence on children which might not necessarily start to occur immediately but linger to a certain stage when such children begin to manifest their social and emotional feelings and will need to make use of them. At this time, such children also start to manifest behavioral problems due to their experience with violence-centered parents or caregivers.  Domestic violence that involves physical combat affects children, causes behavioral disruptions and distress in some cases. Children who witness violence between parents or caregivers either directly or indirectly are assumed to be psychologically disturbed and distracted thus causing behavioral disruption

Emotional Effects

Emotionally, children who witness IPV face lots of issues that challenge their emotional being even though one may think little children do not understand and feel their emotions yet. But because of this lack of understanding and inability to control it, they need a kind of structure in their environment that stands in place of the children. In providing such structures, families who dwell daily in violence finds it too overwhelming with issues surrounding violence around them and thus unable to provide the structures needed by the children which, can eventually impact children’s experience of emotional expression (Buckley, Holt, & Whelan, 2007).

So many parents forget that IPV directly or indirectly affects their children, they assume since the children are not involved in the violence, then they are less concerned about any effects it has. As said earlier, witnessing IPV alone makes it a serious issue and not merely the direct involvement.  For instance, in a family where there is always battering form of violence and the parents will almost beat each other every day, the children witnessing such are more likely to develop different kinds of trauma either physical, psychological or emotional and this affects them a lot especially in their relationships with other peers.

Psychological effects

When parents hear about the impacts a witnessed IPV has on the children and that it poses a great exposure challenge to children, they only think of the physical impacts such as injuries or consequences of neglect at the time of violence on children. Thinking that after all, they kept the children in a safe place at the time abuse probably in physical form was taking place, they forget the psychological being of these children are been affected either. Saltzman, Holden, and Holahan (2005) drew the conclusion that the psychological scars developed by children who are exposed to violent interactions between their parents is more detrimental than those of children who had been the direct targets of physical abuse by a parent. This shows that psychological trauma that partner violence place on children could sometimes be more harmful and damaging to their health and well-being even than physical trauma it causes. Psychological problems developed could place an indelible mark on an individual whereas physical injury could just be a minor type that will be resolved within days or weeks. This is why the psychological life of children should be given priority so that they enjoy and have a fulfilled future.

Effects of IPV on Parent-Child Relationship

The relationship between parents and children is such an incomparable one especially mother-child relationship. It is known that children form a kind of attachment with parents or caregivers especially when they are still very young. This is among the most important developmental mile-stones of infancy and early childhood. Young children who are secured in this form of attachment respond to fear and uncertainty by seeking out attachment figures and accepting comfort from the caregivers while those in an unsecured attachment tries totally avoiding the caregivers or make an alternative of withdrawal from such. Insecurely attached children can be at high risk of negative developmental outcomes, this is what happens to children who witness IPV, and they feel insecure thus having a kind of developmental issues. Levendosky, Huth-Bocks, Shapiro, and Semel (2003) in their study discovered that preschool-age children exposed to IPV either from caregiver or parents have fewer verbal and nonverbal interactions with their mothers than their peers without exposure to caregiver IPV. This is because children who are exposed to partner violence by their caregivers retrench from developing the normal kind of attachment that is meant to be developed thus affects their interaction abilities. These categories of Children exposed to IPV may likely initiate fewer verbal requests with their mothers, and verbal exchanges with such mothers tend to be relatively short when compared to those of other children of the same age whose attachment bond with the parents have not be broken or indented (Levendosky et al. 2003). These are internalized problems that spring out as children age, they begin to have interaction problems with their peers and even in general with people just because they grew up in this kind of exposure and they find it difficult getting out of it. In addition, the young children exposed to IPV may find it difficult to look at their mothers directly by the face during conversation, and they can later develop a timidity behavior as they age.

In a general relationship context different from a parent-child type, a study of IPV-exposed children among the age group of four to six carried out by Howell, Graham-Bermann, Czyz, and Lilly (2010)discovered that frequent IPV exposure was negatively related to prosocial behavior. Similarly, McCoy, Cummings, and Davies (2009) found that destructive marital conflict when a child is in kindergarten was related to emotional reactivity and behavioral dysregulation and that these outcomes were associated with prosocial skills deficits three years later. This implies children’s exposure to domestic violence at home really have challenges balancing up their prosocial skills and these reflects in their relationship with people outside the homes, they rather had a negative prosocial relationship than a positive type.

Many children experience trauma due to witnessing intimate partner violence that takes place between their parents, this trauma could be physical, psychological or emotional. Huang, Vikse, Lu, and Yi (2015) discovered that a higher than average rates of cognitive, psychological, and emotional impairments occurs in children who experience trauma due to exposure to intimate partner violence. When children who are not so lucky finds themselves in this kind of IPV dominated family, experience or witness it on a regular basis and they are not rescued on time to be out of it, it leaves on them a long term indelible effects which if not possible affects them throughout their lifetime. Subjection on a regular basis to abusive, neglectful, or severely stressful conditions within the relationship of parent and caregiver-child significantly increases the risk of undergoing a lifelong deterioration both in physical and mental health (Cummings, El-Sheikh, Kouros & Buckhalt, 2009).

Physical Effects

The effects of IPV on the physical health of children witnessing it should not be left out. Physical health of children matters a lot and it is of high priority just as the other parts of an individual. The physical health and safety of children is linked to the health and safety of their mothers, particularly in families where violence is present. This is because there exist a strong, regular and deeper relationship between mothers and children, children spend most of their times with the mother especially when they are still at the tender age. Therefore, there is likelihood that anything that threatens the physical health of the mother exposes the child at the same time. Howell et al. (2010) associated stress to witnessing IPV and concluded that the effects of such stress on children who are exposed to parent’s violence may increase their vulnerability to health, medical problems and physical illness. In support of this, Ackerson and Subramanian (2009) also made a great association between exposure to violence and psychological distress in children witnessing violence against a primary caregiver who is most often the mother. It may even be the experience of the aftermath effect of this violence on the caregiver by the child that cause either physical or psychological effects. For instance, a woman that has suffered a poor health and wellbeing as a result of violence from the partner may find it very difficult coordinating herself not to even talk of taking good care of the children. Asling-Monemi, Naved ,and Persson (2008)also demonstrated that the negative health outcomes associated with family violence exposure on the children’s part may also be a result of the impact of IPV on women’s mental and physical health, which in turn can affect their ability to provide proper care for their children. This supports the statement that there is a great relationship between the health and safety of children and their caregivers.

Effects on Academic Performance

Academically, children who are exposed to family violence between caregivers finds one or more difficulties in their academic performance. This could be due to the direct effects of witnessing it or due to the inability of the caregiver to monitor children’s academic performance because they seem not to be fully coordinated due to their experience of IPV. In another view, when a child is in a state of psychological imbalance, coping with peers and academic expectations may become a great challenge to them, thus many decides to be absent from school or even drop out eventually. Due to ongoing conflicts in the home, children may find it difficult to fully concentrate and focus on their school work because they are preoccupied with problems at home which can sometimes lead to not getting sufficient sleep as at when due (Buckley et al, 2007).

Depending on the development period of a child, exposure to IPV at different ages may result in different outcomes. A child who is exposed at the very early and tendered stage of development may find the effects of IPV more long lasting than someone who just starts to witness this at the adolescent stage. This is because the adolescent children are believed to have reached the age of accountability whereby they can make a decision on their own, they are likely to identify abuse, decide its effects on them and find a way around it to protect themselves.

Children experiencing IPV have poor school connectedness which, is is also linked to educational outcomes. Students that are connected to school will succeed academically because they would be punctual in school, stay longer in school, do assigned homework which makes them have higher grades and scores (NCDC, 2009).

 Long Term Effects of IPV

Another imminent effect of IPV on children is the continuous cycle whereby children who have been abused one way or the other also have the tendency of being a perpetrator of any form of abuse when they grow old. Eriksson and Mazerolle (2015) concluded that there is a consistent linkage between childhood exposure to violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration in adulthood. They discovered that children who had experienced partner violence in the past or are originated from a violence dominated family have the tendency of becoming a violence perpetrator when they reach adulthood age. Moving from a childhood to adulthood stage is a form of transitions and in this are various things transmittable. Stith, Smith, Penn, Ward, and Tritt (2004) also identified childhood exposure to violence as a risk factor for intimate partner violence perpetration. This implies that childhood exposure poses an individual to the risk of being a perpetrator at the adult age, although this could still be determined by each individual and the kind of transmission that takes place between this transition stages. If the transmission is very strong then the likelihood will be high and may otherwise be the case as well. Witnessing intimate partner violence between parents and caregivers has been identified as a form of child abuse therefore, Gomez (2011) also identified child abuse as a strong determinant of future violence perpetration. This indicates that exposing a child to violence or abuse at the childhood age makes him or her be at high risk of perpetrating violence as they age. Eriksson and Mazerolle (2015)conclude that there exists an instillation of belief system in any form of exposure to violence which then encourages the use of violence in intimate relationships thus in turn increasing the likelihood that there will be engagement in violence by such individuals. Because behaviors are learnt according to social learning theory from observations, children who observe their caregivers in IPV tends to learn one thing or the other from them most likely a negative behavior such as aggression, timidity or helplessness. Thus, as these children grow and enter into adulthood, they are likely to base their lives’ philosophy on the belief that aggression is the only approach to dealing with conflict either intra or interpersonal. Furthermore, victims of child abuse who have learnt helplessness as a normal way of life from the violent parents develop feelings of powerlessness or inability to cope with situations of life as they arise.

Effects on Developmental Ability

Intimate partner violence has several impacts on children’s developmental capability.  Study suggests that growing up in an abusive home environment can critically jeopardize the developmental progress and personal ability of children (Martin, 2002). When the developmental abilities of children are affected, it results into many negative behaviors manifested by such. Cunningham and Baker (2004) determined that the children’s developmental limited ability exposes them to verbalize the powerful emotions they are experiencing through temper tantrums and aggression, crying and resisting comfort, or despondency and anxiety. Although Lundy and Grossman’s study (2005) revealed that aggressive behavior and possessiveness manifested by children were particular problems for the age group and not related to developmental problems that could result from witnessing IPV by the parents. Martin (2002) deduced from their study that extreme fear experienced by children living in IPV family is what led to psychosomatic problems that affected their developmental ability not the act of witnessing IPV itself although it prevented them from having a healthy development.

Pepler, Catallo, and Moore (2000) also identified witnessing IPV as a particular type of trauma for a child and that it may have devastating effects on children’s development which can be a threat to infants and young children’s sense of security and wellbeing, this influences all areas of development.

How Does IPV Affects Parenting Behaviors?

IPV exposes the victims to trauma and an increased risk of maternal mental health problems and parenting difficulties have been associated to this trauma(Banyard, Williams & Siegal, 2003). A study carried out by Levendosky and Graham-Bermann (2000) revealed that women with IPV experience showed lower levels of parenting warmth and increased hostility and disengagement in interactions with their children. Similarly, findings from the study carried out by Postmus, Huang and Mathisen-Stylianou (2012), showed that experiences of current IPV, and possibly past IPV are correlated with a decrease in positive parenting behaviors. There is usually lack of parenting warmth which a child needs most in IPV dominated families, this could be associated to either stress acquired as a result of IPV or unhappiness experienced as a result of victimization from the other partner.

The individual differences in parenting style can be influenced by stress associated with parenting which thus affects children upbringing.  This explains and emphasizes the relationship between parenting stress and child outcomes. Levendosky and Graham- Bermann (2000) in their study noted that IPV may contribute to psychological disturbances in women thus leading to poor parenting behavior which includes aggressive or physical forms of discipline and there is also reduced emotional warmth. When mothers suffer in their relationship, there is transfer of aggression to children being raised by them thus affecting the way they perform their parenting roles.

Intimate partner violence leads to maternal stress which thus affects the ability of women to attend adequately to children’s need because of the psychological trauma IPV has caused on them. There is also less rate of concentration on child’s care by women in IPV family since IPV affects almost all areas of women’s psychologic being.

A study done by Ahlfs-Dunn and Huth-Bocks (2016), found that mothers who live in IPV dominated family are significantly affected in their personal, relational, and parental function. They seem to have a traumatized parenting functioning styles and roles which thus affects their personal relationship with their children. Another study carried out by Levendosky and Graham-Bermann (2000) found that abused women show greater deficiencies in parenting than their non-abused counterparts. They related this to result of living in constant fear which made them deny their children normal developmental transitions and the sense of basic trust and security that is the foundation of healthy emotional development.

Intervention Measures for IPV Effects on Children’s Wellbeing

Moving forward, it is necessary to develop a clearer understanding of the relationship that exists between intimate partner violence and the protective factors responsible for its outcome on children. These protective factors will be examined using the ecological model and they are related to families, cultural beliefs and values, neighborhood, community settings and family environments, all these will be related to each system level of the critical ecological model.

According to Bronfenbrenner (1979), an ecological framework conceptualizes individuals and families embodied within a system comprising interdependent levels of the environment referred to as the macrosystem, exosystem, mesosystem, and microsystem. At the microsystem level of the critical ecological model, parents who are experiencing intimate violence in their relationship should be well aware of the effects that IPV has on their children. Parents should not just limit exposure to physical witness but should as well know that IPV affects children silently mere seeing and hearing about it. Being fully aware of the negative impacts on the children may put an end to the continuation of violence even among the parents. It serves as protective factor even against children in such homes.

At the mesosystem level, there should be a strong involvement and relationship between each families and the community. This does not give room for intruding into others’ privacy but it will really help a lot for easy recognition of violence. When the community or neighbors have a good interaction with the family to the extent that they are able to know when violence is taking place, children in such homes will be protected earlier than others who have no external involvement into the family.

The government and policy makers have a lot to play at the exosystem level. There should be policies in place and legal laws enacted against children’s exposure to intimate partner violence and these should be taken with all seriousness. Protective agencies against child abuse are not left out since exposure to IPV has been recognized as a form of child abuse. The awareness that protective agencies exist will curb parents from exposing their children to IPV and will make them reduce the occurrence of IPV.

Finally, at the macrosystem level of the ecological model, people’s ideologies, beliefs and systems that controls them should be reframed in the sense that the belief of children not physical present during violence will be totally changed. This belief has contributed a lot to continuous exposure of children to it, lack of awareness of other forms of exposure and effects aside the physical ones contributed to it as well. Therefore, people’s belief system should be well reframed.

Gaps in literature

From the review, it has been noticed that most of the studies focusing this area of study had methodological issues which I think affected their results. Most of the studies except the study carried out by McDonald et al (2006) used a quantitative method instead of qualitative methods that gave mothers the opportunity to verbalize their own experiences of IPV and the effects it has on their children.

Another gap in literature is the limited study on the direct relationship between current IPV exposure and parenting behaviors. Most of the limited studies done on parenting behaviors in IPV dominated families examined past experiences of IPV and the transferrable/ generational effects it has on parenting roles. Also most of the reviewed literature’s finding relied on maternal report of IPV and does not verify the results of exposure with children themselves ((Jouriles et al., 2001; Margolin & Gordis, 2000).

Research Questions

To this end, this paper seeks to address the following questions; (1) What is the relationship between children’s behavioral functioning and intimate partner violence experienced by the parents? (2) What is the effect of intimate partner violence on children? (3) What is the effects of current IPV experiences on parenting behavior of victims?

Study design

Considering my interest in the relationship between intimate partner violence, parenting behaviors and children’s well-being, I would address the study using a semi-structured interview method. About 50 women will be recruited with their children within the age range of 3-6 years from 5 different agencies for victims of violence, such as shelters, social services, charities, and support groups for women who had experienced IPV. The choice of this age range is because children within this age range are believed to be the most critical developmental periods and any developmental issues can easily be detected at this age. Selection criteria will include women being at least 18 years old, having suffered from IPV in at least one prior relationship, and have children within the above children age range.

Flyers will be sent out and contact information will be put for interested mothers who will be expected to call in and make necessary arrangement for the most convenient time and place to conduct interview. Subjects confidentiality will be highly maintained. Two researchers will be needed for this study, in short, a research assistance will be required. During each interview, one person will be with the mother while the other interviewee will be with the child. Questions from the already developed questionnaires will be asked and a standard children’s developmental scale will be used in assessing children’s well-being. Interview reports will be recorded at each outing and later transcribed for study result purpose.

In applying this methodology, several challenges I think I might face include; lack of mothers willingness to be involved in the study; since interview has to be done at subject’s comfortable place, transportation might also be an issue; some mothers might not want to identify themselves as IPV victims which might affect accurate measurement of children’s behavior on the developmental scale.


This paper has examined the impacts of intimate partner violence on the children who are witnessed to it and has critically examined its detrimental effects on them as well as how it has negatively affected parenting behaviors. From the critical analyses of the reviewed literatures, it has been discovered that partner violence occurring between parents or caregivers poses a lot of risk and detrimental effects on the health and wellbeing of the children who witnessed it. Research has demonstrated that these negative effects of early trauma are not necessarily permanent, and that when both IPV victims and their children are provided the proper support and guidance needed, these negative outcomes of IPV exposure can be cushioned and even reversed (Carpenter and Stacks 2009). This paper also examined how the exposure of children to different forms of IPV combined with various effects of violence on parenting affects children’s development and behavior. Findings indicated that IPV had negative impacts on children’s behavior which reflects and may become manifested during later childhood (Huang et al., 2015).  The critical analyses of the literature also suggest that children have maladaptive behavioral functioning, emotional trauma and low ability to cope with their academic pursuit; these are few out of many other effects IPV has on children. The effects were closely related to their primary caregivers’ functioning, which is based on the extent and type of abuse experienced by those caregivers. They lose attention and focus on children thus affecting the children’s life in all ramifications. It has been discovered that lack of knowledge of being exposed to IPV makes many children suffer innocently and even stay longer than expected in such condition. But as children, environment and policy makers and even parents gain a greater understanding of these issues; we will be better able to develop effective policies and relaxing interventions to help the exposed children.

Finally, it is clearly seen that intimate partner violence not only affects those directly involved, but also children who are witnessed to it. The effects of IPV on young bystanders are detrimental to their emotional, physical, psychological and developmental well-beings. Since it is well known that children’s exposure to intimate partner violence exists, limiting or if possible eliminating the negative consequences should be prioritized. Thus there is need for interventions that will help aid and support these set of children who find themselves in such families in finding more adaptive ways of understanding their experiences of IPV. When children understand what the exposure to IPV is like, there is tendency that the exposure is reduced and they can run for their lives or call for help when necessary. When parents know about the impacts witnessing IPV has on the children and they are very much aware that it poses a great exposure challenge to children, there is tendency of safeguarding the children away from it or better still avoid any form of violence in the home.

Bringing an end to children’s exposure to IPV and its impacts on them is the sole responsibility of everyone, the greatest hurt to the children and the society at large is the belief that someone else should do it. So also in rescuing children from this form of child abuse, silence about it should be broken and everyone should see it as our responsibility to bring an end to it and break the chain of cycle continuity.

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