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Domestic Violence and Child Abuse
By Judge Frank Sullivan

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) which is an opportunity to bring the issue to the forefront, advocate for change, celebrate survivors and mourn those who have tragically lost their lives to domestic violence. While domestic violence has obvious negative effects on adult caregivers, there are also serious consequences for children exposed to domestic violence in their homes. These consequences can include physical outcomes such as poor health and substance use, as well as adverse mental health outcomes like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Children may act out and be aggressive so it’s important to connect this behavior to being exposed to domestic violence. Domestic violence is a widespread epidemic impacting children and families. It is estimated that 15.5 to 45 million children in the U.S. are exposed annually to domestic violence, with young children making up the majority of exposed youth among families who seek police involvement. The prevalence and serious negative outcomes associated with domestic violence in the home makes it a serious public health concern.