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Emotional Maltreatment Statutes Summary

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My Son, age 9

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Between 3.3 and 10 million American children witness domestic violence annually.1

Children who witness violence display emotional and behavioral disturbances such as withdrawal, low self esteem, nightmares, and aggression against family, peers and property.2

Studies show children who witness domestic violence show that they are more likely to perpetuate the cycle of violence in their own relationships.3

Children fail to report domestic violence or sexual abuse of shame, fear of retaliation, or fear of not being believed.4

Children who witness domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety, and violence towards peers.5     

The need for supervised visitation centers far exceeds the number of available programs, resulting in courts ordering unsupervised visitation and endangering parents and children.6   


1 Schechter & Edleson, Domestic Violence and Children: Creating a Public Response, Center on Crime, Communities & Culture for the Open Society Institute (2000).

2 Peled, Inad, Jaffe, Edleson, Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women, Sage publications.

3Strauss,Gelles, & Smith, “Physical Violence in America Families; Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence” in 8,145 Familes. Transaction Publishers (1990).

4Phillips, Using/Losing Her Voice: Consent, Coercion, and Sexual Silences, Paper presented at the Annual Ethnography and Education Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (March 1993).

5Jaffe & Sudermann, “Child Witness of Women Abuse: Research and Community Response” in Stith & Strauss.

6Strauss, “Supervised Visitation and Family Violence,” 29 Family Law Quarterly 229, 232-33 (1995).

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