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Interparental Violence—Effects on Children

The Impact Of Exposure, Effects On Parent-child Relationships, Longer-term Effects, Cultural Diversity


Exposure to violence in the home provides a major threat to children's development worldwide where it is estimated that 33 percent of women have been assaulted or abused by a male spouse or family member (Heise, Ellsberg, and Gottemoeller 1999). As shown in a sampling from different countries, estimates of incidence vary: China, 29 percent (Family Violence Prevention Foundation 2001b); Chile, 60 percent; Japan, 59 percent (Family Violence Prevention Foundation 2001h); Peru, 90 percent (Human Rights Watch 2001); South Africa, 25 percent (Family Violence Prevention Foundation 2001f); United States, 31 percent (Commonwealth Fund 1999); Russia, 81 percent of domestic crimes were against women (Family Violence Prevention Foundation 2001e); and Canada, 48 percent (Rodgers 1994).

Children's exposure to woman abuse is not assessed in most countries. However, in Australia 23 percent of young people surveyed had witnessed an incident of physical or domestic violence against their mothers or stepmothers (Indermaur 2001). In the United States it is estimated that as many as 10 million children are exposed to violence between their parents each year (Straus 1992), and that slightly more than half of female victims of intimate violence live in households with children under age 12 (U.S. Department of Justice 1998).


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Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & Parenthood