Child ABuse

Jack C. Straton
C/o University Studies Portland State University Portland,
OR, 97207-0751 503-725-4227

The Overlap:

 About 70% of men who abuse their wives also abuse their children.

 14% of girls in abusive homes will be sexually abused by a family member.

 As the severity of the wife abuse increases, so does the severity of the child abuse.


Witnessing Abuse:

 According to the children themselves, nearly 100% witness the abuse.


The Effects:

 Children who have chronically witnessed abuse have reactions similar to the reactions of children who have been physically abused, including:

• Disruptions of normal developmental patterns;

• Disturbed patterns of cognitive, emotional, and

behavioral adjustment;5

• Poor health5 and psychosomatic problems.

• Terror.

 They often have difficulties with school.

 Boys who witness their father beating their mother are three times more likely to abuse their own wives.

 Ongoing marital violence in childhood is significantly predictive of the perpetration of serious crimes in adulthood.

 In sum, children exposed to wife abuse may be similar to those children described as suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Separation Does Not Stop the Abuse

In almost three-fourths of spouse-on-spouse assaults, the perpetrator and survivor were separated or divorced at the time of the incident.

Children who had not seen their father in 5 years did significantly better than those who had spent 1 through 13 days with their father in the previous year.

The effects of witnessing violence on children are more severe the longer the exposure continues.

The most important predictor of a child’s social adjustment in recovery from violence is the quality of the relationship with the custodial parent, a relationship severely hampered by ongoing conflict.