Each year approximately 4.8 million acts of physical or sexual aggression are perpetrated against women while 2.9 million physically aggressive acts are perpetrated against men within the United States (Edleson, Ellerton, Seagren, Kirchberg, Schmidt & Ambrose, 2007). Many of these incidents take place in the presences of children, which make these figures even more disturbing (Evans, Davies & DiLillo, 2008). Research indicates that 40.2% of United States battered women responding in national surveys state that their children have witnessed one or more abusive events (Edleson et al., 2007). Overall 66% of research samples regarding childhood exposure to domestic violence reported to having direct exposure to the abuse (Barnett, Miller-Perrin & Perrin, 2011).
Prevalence of childhood exposure of domestic violence can be understood considering many different things such as the numbers of children exposed and their experiences, how exposure impacts children development, factors that increase risks or provide protection against the negative effects of exposure, and the types of interventions that can be implemented to mitigate deleterious effects (Osofsky, 2003). The two most widely cited two researchers Carlson and Straus developed estimates of childhood exposure to domestic violence. Based on studies of the number of households experiencing domestic violence each year, Carlson found that at least 3.3 million children yearly are at risk of exposure to parental violence (Herrenkohl, Sousa, Tajima, Herremkohl & Moylan, 2008; Edleson et al., 2007). Straus estimated an even higher level of exposure using retrospective accounts by adults in their teenage years. Stratus estimated that 10 million American teenagers were exposed to domestic violence each year (Herrenkohl et al., 2008; Edleson et al, 2007). Recently Carlson raised her estimates as a result of additional studies showing that 10% to 20% of American Children are exposed to domestic violence each year. Basing those statistics with the 2000 United States census data, this would show that 7 to 14 million American children are exposed to domestic violence annually (Edleson et al., 2007).
History of Research
Throughout the past three decades there has been an exceptional interest in research looking at the scope and consequences of children’s exposure to domestic violence (Holt, Buckley & Whelan, 2008; Evans, Davies & DiLillo, 2008. The first generation of research regarding children’s exposure was published from the year 1990 to the early 1990’s and mainly focused on the association between male perpetrated violence towards females while also identifying various types of childhood symptoms of the exposure (Evans, Davies & DiLillo, 2008). The second generation of research which was primarily published since the 1990s were more complicated studies, this was due to they used more advanced research designs and models in which were previously tested (Evans, Davies &...