Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence, From Witness to Victim

8 August 2016

The phrase “exposure to domestic abuse” covers a wide range of perception. In 2002, it was estimated that there approximately 3. 2 million, documented cases of children witnessing domestic violence in America (Stiles, 2002). The different types of domestic violence children are exposed to may range from verbal, emotional to physical. The scope of exposure includes more than just seeing the abuse.

Family violence has an extensive history; the concept that it transcends through generations has and remains a widely received and constant topic in the family violence literature exposure expands past what the child sees or hears it reaches into the future to the long term effect (Smith, Ireland, Park, Elwyn, Thornberr, 2011). Exposure to domestic violence extends years down the road to include conscious and subconscious actions and decisions that the now, adult child makes.

These adult actions and decisions could possibly have, in some cases, very negative effects on the decisions the child makes for the duration of their life (Smith, et al.

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, 2011). There are several studies that are based on the long term effect of exposure to domestic violence. There is a need for a deeper look into the choices when involving adult intimate relationships. What are the bases for adults, who were exposed to domestic abuse as a child, when entering an intimate relationship?

Some will choose to break the cycle of abuse or follow in the example they had as a child and become abusive or abused in their intimate relationships. Review of literature The research on adults who were exposed to domestic violence as a child is limited. There are available quantitative researches but several of them do not contain in-depth accounts of adults who were exposed to domestic between their parents. Researchers have studied the issue of children who witness domestic violence and often becoming abusers or victims of domestic violence in adulthood (Cappell & Heiner, 1990).

The social learning theory discusses how children be subjected to witnessing domestic violence as children brings about the same type of violence as they enter adult relationships (Cappell & Heiner, 1990). The concept of domestic violence being a learned behavior is also addressed in the social learning theory (Feerick & Haugaard, 1999). Social learning theory maintains that individuals observe the behavior of others, especially the contingencies that follow a person’s actions in a particular situation, and then emulate these actions in a similar situation (Bandura, 1977).

In many cases when children witness domestic abuse between their parents, they tend to conclude that physical violence is sometimes appropriate to achieve behavioral change in an intimate relationship (Bandura, 1977). Some of the attitudes acquired during childhood because of the exposure to the violence manifest in their adult relationships and may be there reason for the perpetuation of domestic violence for both perpetrators and victims through generations (Cappell & Heiner, 1990). Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this proposed study is to learn about children who are exposed to domestic abuse and what influence that exposure has on their adult relationships. From the outcome of the study, the goal would be to develop a solution to help prevent children from going from witnessing abuse to becoming a victim or an abuser, regardless of the exposure, as adults. There are already significant evidence available that documents the negative effects on children who were exposed to domestic violence (Alexander, Mcdonald, & Paton, 2005).

There needs to be more study on the adults who witnessed domestic violence as children to understand their childhood experiences and the effect it has had on the adult experiences in relationships. The beginning point to help the children is helping the parents. Parents’ actions and decisions are essential in the long term effect of the decisions their children make as adults. Exposure to domestic abuse as a child can contribute to a generational cycle of domestic abuse (Smith, et al. , 2011). This study will help grasp a grip on the effects that exposure to domestic abuse growing up, has on children in their adult relationships.

Effects of exposure have negative responses, which include depression, behavior problems in childhood, and increased risk for becoming a perpetrator or victim of abuse in their adult relationships (Benj, 2010). The conclusion for this study is to; have an understanding of the effect of domestic abuse and stop the continuation it the generational cycle of abuse. Hypotheses and Research Questions RQ: Are children who are expose to domestic abuse while growing up, more likely to become abusers/abused as adults than the child who was not exposed to domestic abuse while growing up?

Null Hypothesis: Children exposed to domestic abuse are no more likely to become abusers/abused as an adult than children not exposed to domestic abuse. Research Hypothesis: Children exposed to domestic abuse are more likely to become abusers/abused as an adult than children not exposed to domestic abuse. Definitions of terms Violence Violence is an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder and it has many causes, including frustration, exposure to violent media, violence in the home or neighborhood, and a tendency to see other people’s actions as hostile even when they’re not.

Domestic Violence There has been some issue with definitions of the terminology domestic violence. In researching the different definitions in this proposal the term domestic violence will be used in the following way, violence among intimate partners, includes controlling through intimidation, verbal, sexual, and physical abuse. Violence could also include financial abuse and any other type of control. Any type of assault or that an adult uses against another adult involved in intimate relationship (Missouri Coalition Against Domestic Violence {MCADV}, 2000, 2009).

Although violence usually refers to violence between partners, the phrase family violence is used to refer to abuse between other family members, for example elder abuse and child abuse by parents (Salcido, Weithorn, & Behrman, 1999). The American Psychological Association Task Force on Violence and the Family in 1996 defined domestic violence as “A pattern of abusive behaviors including a wide range of physical, sexual, and psychological maltreatment used by one person in an intimate relationship against another to gain power unfairly or

maintain that person’s misuse of power, control, and authority” (Walker, 1999, p. 23). Exposure to domestic violence The phase exposure to domestic violence refers to children experiencing a scope of domestic violence, which refers to verbal abuse as well as physical abuse to a parent, or even trying to stop the violence (Salcido et al. , 1999). Witnessing domestic violence The phrase witnessing domestic violence is used to describe and instance when a child is present in the room when the violence happens. Assumptions

In 2010 According The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, There was an estimated 3 in 10 women and 1 in 10 men in the United States who had been victim of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported at least one incident of experiencing these or similar forms of violent behavior in the relationship (Black, Basile, Breiding, Smith, Walters, Merrick, Chen,& Stevens, M. R. , 2011) and in many of these instances a child is present. Through interaction, observation, cognitive and personal characteristics children acquire their behaviors and values (Bandura, 1986).

Methods and Procedures This will be a descriptive research, the study will be based on a combination application of quantitative and perspectives. The study will be set to determine those children who were exposed to domestic violence who later became abusive or was involved in an abusive relation. The method used will be a longitudinal case study, in order to observe the selected group at different selected intervals as they age to determine if there were any instances of abuse or being abused (Cozby, 2009). The observations will be focused on relationships after reaching the age of adulthood.

The study will expand over a period of 30 years with interval survey, interviews conducted every 5 years for observation of relationship stats and development check. Population Participant will be selected through random sampling, with participants from a domestic abuse center. The study group will be a group of 100 children, male and female between the ages of 6-16, of various races from the Permian Basin area of Texas various races 6-16, Procedures In preparation for the research study, informed consent statements and confidentiality form swill be prepared. There will be confidentiality forms for all involved with taping of interviews.

Consent forms for any audio taping that may be done, during the interviews will also be prepared. Interview and survey questions will be developed. Time schedules for interval surveys. Instruments Instruments used during the study time would also include questionnaire surveys, interviews using open ended questions and Conflict Tactics Scale. The additional instruments will be administered separately over the period of the study. Each 5 year interval there will be a survey of some form to determine status of effect of the exposure to abuse when the participant was a child.

Data Analysis Discussion Potential outcomes from the study would be that having exposure to domestic abuse a child did affect the relationship choices the participants made as an adult. The effects may be different depending on the gender of the participant or at what age they were a witness to the abuse. There could be a separation in the results as to whether those who were the abuser or victim, if the males tended to be the abusers or they were very protective of their mate because of what they say as a child.

Inspected outcomes is to show how the participant felt when they witnessed the abuse and why they feel the abuse happened or why they feel they abuse their partner or why they are or were a victim of abuse. The most substantial result would be the root of whether children from abusive homes are later abusers or become victims more often than those who grew up in non-abusive homes. Uncovering the root of the cycle of abuse and taking the research further to see if there is a way to help bring knowledge and awareness to communities to prevent domestic abuse. Implications Domestic Violence is an expanding issue in our country.

This issue has been existing for years and is now increasing more rapidly. There has been research that shows that in many of the reported cases of domestic violence a child has been present to witness the abuse. Research indicates that witnessing domestic abuse as a child has adverse long term affects. My proposal is for further research in this area, with emphasis on the a effect witnessing domestic abuse as a child has on adult relationships. The purpose and goal is to decrease the rates of abuse and to decrease the continuing rate of the revolving generational cycle of domestic abuse.

References Alexander, H. , Macdonald, E. , & Paton, S. (2005). Raising the issue of domestic abuse in school. Children & Society, 19, 187-198. American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family. (1996). Violence and the family. Washington, D. C. : American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www. apa. org/search. aspx? query=violence Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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