Finding a better way to identify children experiencing domestic violence
The effects of domestic violence on a child can range from emotional and behavioural problems to physical injury and death when children are caught up in the violence between adults. Even when not directly involved, children’s exposure continues through witnessing and being aware of the violence – and through its health, social and financial consequences.
Health care professionals should enquire about the child’s safety when they see clinical signs of domestic violence and abuse in children. The ideal initial response should include emotional support, discussion about domestic violence and advice on local specialist services.
Now researchers at universities in the UK (Bristol, Queen Mary and Cambridge) and Canada (McMaster and Western) have combined existing evidence on the best ways to identify and respond to children experiencing domestic violence. This synthesis, the first of its kind, integrates findings from 11 studies with 42 children, 220 parents, and 251 health care and social services professionals.