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Risk Factors from Domestic Family Violence for the Cognitive and Emotional Development of Children

תקציר הרצאה מכנס בינלאומי מרץ 2014 המחלקה לקרימינולוגיה אוניברסיטת אריאל

international conference on:
"Who pays the price? Society, victims and offenders"
תאריך פרסום: 15/11/2014

Risk Factors from Domestic Family Violence for the Cognitive and Emotional Development of Children

Ruth Harpaz  Ph.D

Domestic family violence includes a range of violent behaviors: physical violence, sexual, verbal, psychological and emotional abuse, as well as social isolation and economic or financial abuse.

Children exposed to domestic violence pay a high price. Exposure to violence can damage emotional and cognitive development. Chronic exposure can change the structure of the developing brain, particularly among children younger than three.

There is an accruing body of empirical data suggesting that the neurobiological effects of childhood neglect include compromised psychosocial functioning and neurocognitive abilities, alongside impaired executive functioning and academic achievement. Emotional trauma and emotional neglect during childhood often have adverse effects, such as distraction and behavioral problems, on academic and  neurocognitive  functioning.

Children who are abused often repeat the pattern of abuse as adults. A young boy's exposure to his father abusing his mother is the strongest risk factor for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next and the boy growing up to become a perpetrator.

The individual family alone does not bear the full cost of domestic family violence.  By not addressing the problem, society as a whole suffers and, for the society, as for the individual family, the cost is great.  Undeniably, it is the responsibility of adults, in families and in society at large, to protect the young from harm and, by failing to do so, both families and society pay an immense price.

Prevention may include the political and professional mechanism to remove children from a violent domestic situation.  Treatment costs are seen in special education, shelters, and mental health services.

Schools and child-care programs in the special education framework can be vitally important support systems by strengthening children’s resilience and providing resources for parents so that they can serve as psychological buffers to protect their children.

 

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