Healthify Blog

What's the Effect of Parental Domestic Violence on Children?

Victims of Chronic Domestic Violence Twice as Likely to Attempt Suicide

A new study by the University of Toronto found that one in six adults who were exposed to chronic parental domestic violence during childhood has attempted suicide, according to a university news release.
 
The lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts among adults who had been exposed to such violence during childhood was 17.3 percent compared to 2.3 percent among those without the same exposure, the release stated. 
 
Lead author Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson said that researchers had expected that "the association between chronic parental domestic violence and later suicide attempts would be explained by childhood sexual or physical abuse, or by mental illness and substance abuse."
 
"However, even when we took these factors into account, those exposed to chronic parental domestic violence still had more than twice the odds of having attempted suicide," Fuller-Thomson said.
 
The professor pointed out that even when children themselves aren't abused in chronic domestic violence cases, there is still a risk of long-term negative outcomes for them.
 
The study examined a nationally representative sample of 22,559 community-dwelling Canadians, using data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health, the release stated. 
 
Parental domestic violence was defined as "chronic" if it had occurred more than 10 times before the respondent was age 16, according to the release.
 

Access to Resources is Critical to Improvement

The new study points to the continuing need for effective prevention and intervention programs for domestic violence cases.
 
Healthify's goal is to efficiently connect vulnerable populations, such as those exposed to domestic abuse, to social programs that can help them get on the path toward good health. 
 
The hope is that providing quick access to the right resources can alleviate the harm that domestic violence causes to its victims, whether that harm manifests itself in the short-term or long-term.
Topics: social determinants of health childhood development