- Research shows that witnessing domestic violence in childhood makes people prone to mental illness in adulthood.
- Experts suggest ways of addressing the long-term effects of domestic violence on children.
Understanding Parental Domestic Violence
Parental domestic violence (PDV) includes a range of economic, physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse between intimate partners who share children. It may also include child abuse, intimate partner abuse, and elder abuse.
According to experts, “it causes diminished psychological and physical health, decreases the quality of life, and results in decreased productivity.”
Effects of Witnessing Domestic Violence in Childhood
Mental health news shows that domestic violence rates are skyrocketing in India. It is a manifestation of the patriarchal structure in India, resulting in dowry demands, infanticide, marital rape, physical assault, etc. And, most often, children are the forgotten victims of such adversity. Nationwide surveys show that approximately 10% of children are exposed to domestic violence annually.
Child specialists and medical practitioners say that the effects of domestic violence on children include the risk of certain physical and mental complications like – major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders.
However, it was also seen that many PDV survivors had flourishing mental health, despite experiencing such a harrowing childhood.
Addressing Mental Health Of PDV-survivors In Adulthood
Experts have suggested ways in which PDV survivors can recover and maintain their mental well-being in childhood and adulthood. This includes availing:
- Social support
- Services related to child welfare
- Medical and legal resources
Domestic violence, and in that parental domestic violence, is a growing social health concern, and its unwilling victims, the children, develop ‘trauma scars’ that last a lifetime. We, as a society and nation, should come together and take measures that prevent the lingering effects of domestic violence on children.