Childr Health Information

Domestic Violence

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Topic: General Child Health

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about domestic violence and the effects on children witnessing domestic violence.

Domestic violence is also called spouse abuse. Abuse of women is the most common form of abuse. At least one in every six women is hit sometime during their relationship. And, at least 1 million women each year are severely and repeatedly beaten by their husbands or boyfriends. But men may also be abused. Abuse often gets worse and could even cause death. Remember that there are others like you and help is available when you are ready. No one has the right to hit you! It is against the law. You are being physically abused if someone you know hits, pushes or physically hurts you. You are being abused if you are forced into doing something without the other person thinking about your rights. You are being abused if you are kept from doing something that you want to do. You are being sexually abused if you are forced to have sexual contact of any kind (vaginal, oral or anal). You are being emotionally or verbally abused if you are made to feel worthless, are constantly insulted or made to feel frightened.

Making a decision to leave an abusive relationship can be very hard to do. It may take time for you to feel ready. It is important that you have a safety plan in case you are being threatened. Call a woman’s shelter and a caregiver can help you make a safety plan. You do not have to give anyone your name.
• Pack a suitcase or box for you and your children. Keep this at a friend’s or neighbor’s house. In this suitcase pack extra clothing, any medicines you may need and money. Remember to include an extra set of car keys and house keys. Also, take a favorite toy or play thing for your children.
• Take important papers such as driver’s license or photo ID, social security number, health insurance cards, the deed or lease to your house or apartment, any court papers or orders, pay stubs and birth certificates for you and your children.
• Keep the following phone numbers close at hand:
- Artemis Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence 24-hour hotline 937-222-SAFE (or 7233)
- The social work department at The Children's Medical Center in Dayton 937-641-5300
- Call 911 if your life or the lives of your children are in immediate danger.

When domestic violence occurs, it affects all members of the family, including the children. Even if the children didn’t see or hear the battering, they will experience its aftermath – the victim’s injuries, broken bones and bruises or the broken furniture and damages to the house.
Children who witness domestic violence are:
• more likely to show aggressive and antisocial behaviors
• more likely to show fearful and inhibited behaviors
• more likely to have anxiety, self-esteem, depression and anger
• more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol
• more likely to run away from home
• more likely to engage in teenage prostitution
• more likely to commit sexual assault crimes
• more likely to be in violent relationships as teenagers or adults

• Seek help
• Encourage them to make connections with non-abusive family members and friends
• Help them see problems as temporary setbacks
• Teach them that change is a part of life
• Guide them in setting and reaching goals
• Encourage them to make decisions and move ahead
• Help them identify their strengths and areas for growth
• Nurture their positive self-image
• Present them with a hopeful view of the world and their future
• Teach them how to satisfy their needs in a healthy manner

In Ohio, if domestic violence occurs in your home or within 30 feet of a child, a court will consider the crime as “more serious” when sentencing the person who is convicted of the crime. In other words, domestic violence is considered as a “more serious” crime when a child witnesses the violence. The person who commits domestic violence is more likely to receive a harsher penalty or longer jail sentence.


Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 2004

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 2004


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