The Victims Of Domestic Violence

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Every couple months there is a story on the news about a woman being physically assaulted or murdered by her professional athlete spouse/boyfriend. The reality of the situation is that these events happen each day in families across the globe, but due to their lack of social standing, their stories are not front page news on the Sunday paper. However, although this is a substantial problem for the abused men and woman of our society, the forgotten victims of domestic violence are the children who witness these horrific acts. The likelihood of children witnessing a domestic violence incident and being traumatized following that event is tremendous. Exposure to trauma is a reality for many children, though the extent and type of trauma varies. Edleson (1999) describes adult-to-adult domestic violence as a wide range of events, such as the child directly viewing the violence, hearing it, being used as a tool of the perpetrator, and experiencing the aftermath of violence. For example, a perpetrator hitting or threatening a child while in his or her mother’s arms, taking the child hostage to force the mother’s return to the home, using a child as a physical weapon against the victim, forcing the child to watch assaults against the mother or to participate in the abuse, and using the child as a spy or interrogating him or her about the mother’s activities (pg. 4). As a result of the high prevalence of domestic violence and the increased likelihood that children will be exposed to
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