Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; as a children’s hospital you might be wondering why it matters so much to us. Texas Children’s mission is to create a healthier future for children and women. In order for children to thrive, we need healthy parent, family and caregiver relationships.
Domestic violence does not only harm the victim of the violence, but it has long-term negative effects on children who are exposed to and witness domestic violence. It is estimated that 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and over half of victims live in a home with a child under the age of 12. Studies have demonstrated that children living in homes with domestic violence are more likely to develop emotional, social and behavior difficulties such as juvenile delinquency, alcohol and substance abuse, aggression, depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, approximately half of children living in homes with domestic violence will become victims of child abuse as well.
Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over someone through fear and intimidation and may include physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or emotional abuse. It often includes periods of happiness and peace, followed by tension and abuse. Domestic violence does not discriminate and impacts individuals of all incomes, gender, race and sexual orientation.
So how can we support and protect the children and parents living in violent homes in our community? Texas Children’s is working with partners across the region to prevent domestic violence and create systematic changes that reduce family stress and violence, increase parenting skills and knowledge, support resilience and healthy development of our children and strengthen family relationships.
If you or a loved one are being impacted by domestic violence, help is available for you and your children. There are confidential resources available to help you understand your options and help you identify the safest option for you and your children.
The National Domestic Violence hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Texas Children’s is committed to stopping the cycle of abuse and creating a healthier future for children, women and families. For more information, visit our community partner, the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council at www.hcdvcc.org.