Impact of family violence on children
Name and address of the principal investigator:
Dr. Sr. Sunirose I.P
Dept of Social Work, Rajagiri College of Social Sciences,
Rajagiri P O, Kalamassery,
Name and address of the institution:
Rajagiri College of Social Sciences,
(Affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam)
Rajagiri P O, Kalamassery,
UGC approval letter no. and date: MRP (H)-1749/11-12/KLMG054/UGC-SWRO dated 13th July 2012
Summary of the report:
The current study focused on the impact of family violence on children. All the children were staying in the institutions registered under Juvenile Justice Act 2000, under the categories of children in need of care and protection. Hundred children were included with equal number of boys and girls. The mean age was 14. 17 years with a standard deviation of 2.53. Many (88 percent) children belonged to Hindu religion. The children were not basically aware about the income of their mothers however 78 percent shared they do not have enough money for the basic needs. Barring 2 percent all the children love to live with their mothers, though the present circumstance may not allow. All the children love to eat together with their mother and siblings and commended this as the most favorite activity in their life.
Family violence the children are exposed to in their homes
Many children had the medium level (95 percent) of exposure to violence between their parents and a five percent of them had experienced high level of violence at home. All the children reported generally their parents argued a great deal about them and the mothers were physically abused by their fathers during the conflicts. There was a difference between the boys and girls with their level of experience. All the boys and 95 percent of girls had the medium level and a 5 percent of girls had the high level of violence disclosure between their parents. (Chi-Square=5.263, df =1, p= .022). The hypothesis stated that larger number of girls will have higher level of exposure to family violence than the boys was accepted. Many of them saw the outcome and were in the same room while the fight took place at home. All most all children witnessed chocking (99 percent) their mothers a lot and pulling her hair (73 percent) and feel bitter about it. Thus they were inevitable part of the incidence of conflicts between their parents.
The extent in which the children intervened during family violence
- The children in this study also reported deep involvement in violent events at home. Majority had a medium (63 percent) and 36 percent low level of concern with the fight at home. All of them tried to physically stop the fights a lot (99 percent) and even called for help sometimes (44 percent). Majority (54 percent) of the children sometimes yelled something to their mother and father from a different room and 46 percent did so a lot of the time. While in the same room, 61 percent of the children reported they hollered to intervene a lot and 39 percent said they did so sometimes while in the same room where fighting was occurring. Many children reported (40 percent) that the father did something to hurt them and scare their mothers and them sometimes and for 27 percent of children a lot of times. The participants also shared about their fathers asking them to tell on their mothers a lot (97 percent). None of the children tried to get away from the fighting anytime. However many of the girls (89.8 percent) had the medium level of involvement and 62 percent of the boys had low level of response, generally the girls are more concern about the violence inflicted on their mothers (Chi-Square=28.691 df =1, p= .000). The hypothesis stated that the girl children will intervene more during family violence than boy children was accepted. Major Risk factors the children experience
- All the children (100 percent) were worried about their mother's partner's drinking or drug use and a 6 percent concerned a lot about their mothers drinking. All the children were anxious about their mother sadness a lot excluding 1 percent. The participants had big change in their life a lot (55 percent) and for 45 percent sometimes. Moving from one home to another and staying along with mothers in the hospital after the fights also were risk for the children. Victimization of children in the family
- The children were asked whether the adult in their family hurt them. All the children said that the adult in their family physically hurt them sometimes (100 percent) to tell very specifically the children experienced hitting them sometimes (93 percent) and 7 percent a lot. They also reported making fun of them (99 percent) calling them names (99 percent) and saying things that make them feel bad about (100) sometimes.
- This could be an indication that the children are hit by their parents. But at times this was a form of ventilation for the person who was hitting. Some of the children in their casual talk with the researchers reported the beating often happen after the conflict took place. Even at times the participants were not aware about the reason for the hitting. The dependency and the vulnerability of the children make them the soft and the available target for the anger and the frustrations of the parents. Researchers state that children who witness family violence and are physically abused are at higher risk for emotional and psychological maladjustment than children who witness violence and are not abused (Rosewater et al, 2007, Edleson, 2004).
- Barring a 12 percent all the children have experienced some sort of sexual abuse even from the outsiders. They even reported the incidence of forced sex with the outsiders sometimes (37 percent) and a lot for 51 percent. Comparatively the girls (68 percent) were forced to have sex a lot and even for 26 percent sometimes with outsiders. (Chi-Square=76.499, df =2, p= .000). Thus the hypothesis stated that larger numbers of girls were forced to sexual abuse than the boys both by the family members and outsiders were accepted.
- The participants shared the involvement of their family members in the sexual abuse of children. Large number of children experienced the sexual molestation like made them touch someone’s private parts for sometimes for 34 percent and a lot for 66 percent children. They also reported that their own family members have touched children’s private parts sometimes (77 percent) and 21 percent a lot.
- All the girls were forced to touch the private parts of some one from their family a lot (100 percent) but the cases of boys were a different picture, 68 percent for them sometimes and 32 percent a lot. The difference were statistically proved Chi-Square= 51. 515, df =, p= .000. The hypothesis stated that victimization of girls will be more than the boys in the family where violence takes place were accepted.
- Community violence and exposure children
- The children’s exposure to the community violence was assessed. The children were involved with the emotional/ verbal abuse. All the children reported that they experienced hurt with others and they also have hurt other people’s feelings. With the physical abuse on purpose many said they have never done (45 percent) however 55 percent have done for sometimes in their lives. All have shared that they have witnessed violence in all the movies they have watched so far and on television seeing someone being hurt (99 percent). Almost all (98 percent) were physically hurt by someone sometimes.
- Children were generally exposed to slaps for sometimes (98 percent) and a lot (2 percent). Other forms of violent behaviour the respondents were not seen in the community where they were residing with their parents.
- Media has influenced the life of each and everybody. Truly it directs all the activities of the human beings. Life begins and ends with the touch of media in the current scenario. The painless accessibility of variety of media has further aggravated the situation even for children. The attitude of violence is promoted through the programmes of media. Peacemaking and the resilience is out fashioned for children. They want to imitate and be like the heroes of the movies. It is high time to check the values endorse through the media.
- Outcomes of the research
- Developed an area of intervention for the social work practicum for the student social workers, specializing in Family and Child Welfare.
- Organized sensitization programme for teachers and children about child abuse in Ernakulam district and provided therapeutic intervention to the children who were the victims of child abuse.
- Conducted a study on ‘preventing child abuse through child abuse awareness programmes in schools: an intervention study’.
- Conducted a study on the personality types of children who are the victims of child abuse.
- Negotiated with Kudubhasree Mission for the social work practicum of the students on the following:
- To raise the awareness of impact of family violence on children.
- Identification, monitoring and reporting on the prevalence of family violence in order to shed light on this hidden issue give intervention at early stage.
- Based on the research a paper titled, ‘Domestic Violence as a Public Health Concern: Youth Perspectives’ have been presented by the researcher in Dyuti 2013, International Conference on Global Public health and Social Work, 3-5 January 2013