Health system fails children exposed to domestic violence

July 26, 2001

The health of children in refuges for women victims of domestic violence: cross sectional descriptive survey BMJ Volume 323, pp 210-213

Editorial: Reaching all children BMJ Volume 323, pp 176-177

Children whose mothers are victims of domestic violence are at high risk of physical and psychological ill health, yet these children are being failed by the health system, finds a study in this week's BMJ. New strategies are urgently needed to meet the needs of these largely "invisible" children.

Researchers in Cardiff assessed 148 children living in refuges for women victims of domestic violence. Records from the child health system were incorrect or unavailable for over half the children and uptake of routine health assessments and immunisations was low.

Nineteen per cent of children aged 3-4 years had developmental problems and almost half the children aged 3-15 years displayed probable mental health difficulties. Concerns about physical, emotional and behavioural wellbeing was expressed by mothers of 113 (76%) children.

Child health surveillance should be accessible to all children yet, in effect, these children form a largely invisible population, outside the health system and poorly served by it. We are concerned that, without dedicated services to which these families can be referred, many fall through the system.

The authors argue that time spent in a refuge provides a window of opportunity to review the health and developmental status of these children. Specialist health visitors could provide support and advocacy and facilitate access to mainstream services, they conclude.
Judith Shankleman, Sure Start Health Visitor, Splott Clinic, Cardiff, Wales


Related Domestic Violence Articles from Brightsurf:

As domestic violence spikes, many victims and their children have nowhere to live
COVID-19 has left many victims of domestic violence facing difficulties feeding their children and accessing services for safe housing, transportation and childcare once they leave shelters, according to a Rutgers study published in the journal Violence Against Women.

New study shows increase in domestic violence injuries during COVID-19
There was a higher incidence and severity of physical intimate partner violence (IPV) among patients seen at a large, academic medical center in the US during the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the prior three years, according to a new study.

Domestic violence increased in the great recession
Researchers found that physical abuse in adults increased substantially, with Black and Native American people being disproportionately affected.

Mothering in domestic violence: Protecting children behind closed doors
As emerging data shows an alarming rise of domestic violence during the pandemic, researchers at the University of South Australia are urging practitioners to look beyond clinical observations and focus on the strengths that mothers exercise to protect their children from domestic abuse.

Training family doctors to better support domestic violence survivors
Women who are experiencing domestic violence feel better supported, more confident and less depressed when they are counselled by trained family doctors, according to new research.

Domestic violence reduces likelihood of mothers breastfeeding in developing countries
Mothers who have suffered from domestic violence are substantially less likely to follow recommended breastfeeding practices in low to middle-income countries, a new study shows.

Treatment for sexual and domestic violence offenders does work
A first-of-its-kind meta-study has found that specialised psychological programmes for sexual and domestic violence offenders have led to major reductions in reoffending but best results are achieved with consistent input from a qualified psychologist.

Study: Brain injury common in domestic violence
Domestic violence survivors commonly suffer repeated blows to the head and strangulation, trauma that has lasting effects that should be widely recognized by advocates, health care providers, law enforcement and others who are in a position to help, according to the authors of a new study.

Dentists can be the first line of defense against domestic violence
New findings indicate that oral biomarkers may help health providers identify victims of domestic violence.

Radiologists can help identify victims of domestic violence
Radiologists may play a crucial role in identifying signs of intimate partner violence, a type of domestic violence, according to a new study.

Read More: Domestic Violence News and Domestic Violence Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to