Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford
Family and domestic violence continues to be an ongoing problem and concern for many families. Family violence is any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behavior that occurs in current or past family, domestic or intimate relationships. Violence within a family include physical violence, aggressive acts, menacing behaviors, sexual assault, destruction of personal property, economic control, isolating behaviors, as well as emotional and psychological torment. To put it simply family violence is any negative behaviors that occurs within a family or romantic relationship that causes a person or persons to live under the threat of constant fear.
The term "family violence" encompasses violence that might occur between family members, such as violence between siblings or across generations, in addition to violence that occurs family members’ violence can occur between romantic partners. Although, child abuse and family violence are generally considered separately, it is important to acknowledge the inter-relationship between family violence and child abuse. It is not uncommon for both forms of violence to coexist, with violence being directed towards both women and children. It is important to note even if a child is not being physically or sexually abused witnessing violence against his or her mother can be just as damaging as if the abuse had been directed at the child.
Violence can extend itself across many different types of relationships such as heterosexual, same sex, the disabled, elderly, parent/child, child/parent, etc. Family and home life should be a source of safety and security rather than a source of fear. Unfortunately for many people, home can be anything but a safe and secure environment. Growing up in an abusive or combative environment can be especially damaging for children, as homes are typically where children are their most vulnerable, where their guard is down and they are expected to be themselves. Home is a place where children are expected to be protected, nurtured, and loved by their parents and other family members rather than harmed or scared.
David is an 11-year-old boy that from outward appearances seems to be well provided for. David presents with a quiet and timid demeanor, often becoming extremely upset when he is bombarded by loud noises, witnesses a negative verbal exchange between others, or fighting. David’s parents often engage in physical fights following a verbal disagreement. However, the parents typically wait until they believe David had fallen asleep to have difficult conversations. Although both parents realize fighting and causing physical injury to each other is wrong they try to ensure their son does not witness their parent’s behavior. David’s mother tries to ensure her son does not see the bruises on her arms and shoulders while his father hides the scratches on his face and arms, insisting the scratches are the result of shaving accidents.
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