Domestic violence is
Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Very
often, domestic violence is treated as an adult issue and we fail to consider
the implications for the children involved.
The connection between domestic violence and child abuse is significant
and well documented. We know that each
year, an estimated 3.3 million children are exposed to violence by family
members and that children are present in 40-55% of home where police intervene
in domestic violence calls. Children
growing up in violent environments suffer long term emotional and psychological
effects. Children raised in violent homes are:
6 times more
likely to commit suicide
26 times more
likely to commit sexual assault
57 times more
likely to abuse drugs
74 times more
likely to commit other crimes against persons
The risk to
children is far greater, however, that just the damage from witnessing the
violence. Research suggests that 50-70%
of men who abuse their partners also abuse their children and that in homes
where domestic violence is occurring children are 1500% more likely to be abused.
In the State
of Indiana domestic violence is a Felony offense if committed in the physical
presence of a child less than sixteen years of age, knowing that the child was
present and might be able to see or hear the offense. Domestic
violence is child abuse and we must all make a report if we suspect domestic
violence is occurring in a child’s home. If you have reason to believe a child is at risk, call the Department
of Child Services or your local police department. The Indiana Department
of Child Services (DCS) in Indiana operates a 24-hour, 7-day a week hotline: 1
Learn more at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Need help in St. Joseph County? The YWCA of North Central Indiana provides support to victims of domestic violence and operates at 24 hour crisis line - 866.YES.YWCA. The Family Justice Center of St. Joseph County provides services for a range of issues-safety, legal, employment, education and much more-with just a single stop.
We all play a role in preventing child abuse.
I pledge that if I am
concerned about a child I
will call 1-800-800-5556.
If I am overwhelmed,
stressed, scared and angry,
I will not take those
feelings out on my
child and can call
1-800-Children for help.