Children co-experiencing domestic violence

Children who live in a household, where violence against women in partner relationships takes place, usually co-experience this violence.

Children see and hear eruptions of violence. They witness the fear and shame of their mothers, feel ashamed for their fathers and try to protect their younger siblings or even their mothers. Many children do not tell anybody about what is happening at home.

The German prevalence study “Life Situation, Safety and Health of Women in Germany” (Schröttle/Müller) gives evidence that children are often involved in the occurrence of violence against their mothers from the beginning. 20% of women who have experienced violence in their last partnership, indicated the birth of a child as the event triggering the violence. Another 10% mentioned pregnancy in this respect.

Scientific studies also found a clear connection between violence against mothers and child abuse. A study carried out by Farmer & Owen examined cases of child abuse and sexual abuse, where child protection measures were introduced. In 60% of cases of child abuse and in 40% of cases of sexual abuse, the mothers were also exposed to violence inflicted by the same perpetrator.