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NCJ Number: 135871 Find in a Library
Title: Battered Women's Concerns About Their Children Witnessing Wife Assault
Journal: Journal of Interpersonal Violence  Volume:7  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1992)  Pages:77-86
Author(s): N Z Hilton
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 10
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports on interviews with 20 battered women about their concerns for their children and how these concerns affected the decision to leave their assailants.
Abstract: In a semistructured interview, participants described violent incidents and the conflicts that preceded them. Participants were also asked if their children had ever witnessed the violence, what the children said or did at the time or later, and whether the assailant was ever violent to the children. The role that children played in the victim's decision to leave and in her life since leaving was explored. The results of the interviews involved 52 children. Seventy percent of the women reported that their children witnessed the violence or its effects. This is likely an underestimate, since it is based on violent incidents as described by the women, who may have failed to recall the presence of children in other incidents. Ninety percent of the children were indirect victims which included viewing the violence or its aftereffects, fathers threatening the children or using them to convey insults and ridicule to their mothers, and women being assaulted while pregnant or holding infants. Sometimes children prolonged the woman's stay in the relationship, a tendency that was manipulated by the fathers in some cases. Although many variables influenced the women's decisions to leave, the physical danger to children was identified by most women as the ultimate reason for leaving, with life-threatening attacks being another important reason. Once the decision to leave was made, some women focused on the need to prevent their sons, particularly those who had prolonged exposure to the violence, from learning violent behavior. Implications of the findings are drawn. 25 references
Main Term(s): Battered wives
Index Term(s): Abusing spouses; Children at risk; Victim attitudes
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