domestic violence

doi:10.1111/j.1365-2206.2009.00633.xThe mental health of children who witness
domestic violence
cfs_633491..501Howard Meltzer*, Lucy Doos†, Panos Vostanis‡, Tamsin Ford§ and Robert Goodman¶
*Professor of Mental Health and Disability, †Research Associate, Department of Health Sciences, University of
Leicester, ‡Professor of Child Psychiatry, Greenwood Institute of Child Health, Leicester, §Senior Lecturer in Child
Psychiatry, Peninsula Medical School, St. Luke’s Campus, Exeter, and ¶Professor of Brain and Behavioural Medicine,
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, UK
Correspondence:
Howard Meltzer,
Department of Health Sciences,
University of Leicester,
22–28 Princess Road West,
Leicester LE1 6TP,
UK
E-mail: [email protected]
Keywords: children, domestic
violence, mental health
Accepted for publication: March 2009A B S T R AC T
There is now considerable evidence that witnessing domestic violence
can have adverse consequences for children. Our aim is to present
the socio-demographic correlates of children witnessing domestic
violence and its association with childhood mental disorders. The
biographic, socio-demographic and socio-economic characteristics of
7865 children and their families and measures of traumatic events
including witnessing domestic violence were entered into a logistic
regression analysis to establish the strength of association between
witnessing severe domestic violence and childhood disorders. About
4% of children had witnessed severe domestic violence according to
parent reports. Factors independently associated with a greater likelihood of a child witnessing domestic violence were: older age group,
mixed ethnicity, physical disorder, several children in family, divorced
parents, living in rented accommodation, poor neighbourhoods, the
mother’s emotional state and family dysfunction. Witnessing severe
domestic violence almost tripled the…

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