Though children are not the victims of the physical or verbal assaults, Pennsylvania domestic violence has a significant effect on the children of a victimized parent. Whether the attacker is a father, step-father, or boyfriend of their mother, the impact on the child is always the same, and that impact is always negative.
Safehorizon.org reports that each year over 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes. Though they are not the victims of the abuse, they are also impacted and may even be physically injured as a result. A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death. Additionally, it has been found that there are higher rates of abuse and neglect of children who live in homes where there is domestic violence.
Not only do they face potential injuries, neglect, and abuse, the impact of domestic violence is life-long for children who witness it. A 2005 Michigan study found that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic. If they do not seek out help and speak to someone about the abuse they witnessed, the cycle of domestic violence continues onto the next generation. Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults and boys who witness it are far more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults.
From these facts and studies it is clear that the only way to stop the cycle of domestic violence is to promote awareness and encourage people to speak up. Victims of domestic violence in Western Pennsylvania and throughout the United States need to empower themselves and no longer just sit back hoping they will not be victimized again.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of domestic violence in Pennsylvania, we encourage you to seek legal help. Our Pittsburgh domestic violence lawyers are here for you and we want you to know that the law is on your side. Pennsylvania domestic violence law protects the victim and we hope that you will take the legal steps in order to protect yourself and your children.