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Children and Family Violence

2011 November 4

More Than One in Four Were Exposed to
Some Form of Violence Between Their Parents

Released in October by the Department of Justice, a new study by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes against Children Research Center reveals that more than 1 in 4 children in the U.S. have been exposed to physical violence between their parents at some time, 1 in 9 of them during the past year. Ninety percent of the children directly witnessed at least one such incident (others may have heard it, been told about it, or witnessed the consequences.) Sixty-nine percent of the incidents involved violence by male parents or caregivers, and 23 percent involved female parent figures. Conducted in 2008, the study interviewed both children and caregivers; the sample included over 4,500 children from ages 0-18. 

“Not surprisingly, given this high rate of eyewitness exposure, children had strong reactions to the exposure. Almost half yelled at their parents to stop, more than 2 in 5 tried to get away from the fight, and nearly 1 in 4 called for help,” said UNH Crimes against Children Research Center research associate Sherry Hamby, lead author of the study.
            “We want people to recognize that children’s exposure to violence in the family is not limited to fights between parents. They also see parents physically assault siblings and teens or adults physically assault other relatives,” Hamby said.
                                                  — Quotes from UNH news release 

The study’s other authors are David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center, and Professors Heather Turner and Richard Ormrod. The full study report is available online. The Center also offers free access to its Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire and instructions on how to use it.  (Image source: .)

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