Child maltreatment refers to any physical, psychological and sexual abuse that is met to children by an adult or caregiver. Child maltreatment, especially in families that are not stable and experiencing domestic violence, is common and rampant. The child experience of domestic violence, as well as maltreatment by care givers, has significance physical, emotional, intellectual and cognitive implications on a child development (Ford, 2017).
Research has found out that the maltreatment of children can have high magnitude implications on children that are both short term and long term in nature. The maltreatment of children largely affects the child development due to physical injuries. The maltreatment of children leads to brain damage which affects the ability of a child to learn as well as associate with other children and adults in their environment. Psychological implications on children who have been maltreated are immense which leads to chronic low self-esteem as well as dissociative states of being. The low self-esteem caused by the maltreatment of children are behind poor social and academic performance of the students as well as poor self-confidence in achieving individual development projects (Aymer, 2008). Further, children who are maltreated are not social and jovial with the other children and fail to interact well resulting in their seclusion in social places. Research has found out that children who are maltreated tend to show violent tendencies towards other children. Therefore, the consequences and the implications of children maltreatment results in damaging effects to the individual children as well as the people who are around these children. Maltreatment of children has also been found to result in serious health problems that affect the growth and development of a child which has irremediable consequences that last a lifetime (Ford, 2017).
On the other hand, the exposure of children to domestic violence has also been known to experience emotional, mental and social damage that affects their growth and development. Children who experience domestic violence are unable to experience empathy while others tend to socially isolated and are unable to bond with other children. Marital violence in front of children leads to persistent fear and hyper-vigilant due to the fear of being harmed in the process. As a result, children who grow up in families that are experiencing domestic violence experience routine flashbacks and panic attacks which makes it difficult for them to maintain any relationships with the others. The withdrawal and anxiety of the children that are affected by marital violence make it difficult for them to grow socially which can affect their future relationships. In terms of behavior, both maltreatment of children and their exposure to domestic violence leads to self-harm, troubled sleeping, alcohol and drug abuse and criminal activity (Aymer, 2008).
There is always a need for early intervention on children who experience maltreatment and domestic violence. Children who are exposed to domestic violence and maltreatment by caregivers should be evaluated by a qualified mental health professional to ascertain the extent of the damage and possible intervention to be implemented. Treatment for maltreatment as well as exposure to domestic violence can include; individual or group therapy and assuring the safety of the patient as well as the abused parent (Ford, 2017).
Aymer, S. R. (2008). Adolescent males' coping responses to domestic violence: A qualitative study. Children and Youth Services Review, 30(6), 654-664.
Ford, J. D. (2017). Treatment implications of altered affect regulation and information processing following child maltreatment. Psychiatric Annals, 35(5), 410-419.
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