Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence affects not only the women who are abused but also their children. Children and adolescents in families that experience domestic violence are at high risk for being abused.1

Even if they are not directly abused, these children and teens can be profoundly affected by the violence they witness at home. Potential consequences of childhood or adolescent exposure to domestic violence include behavior problems, decreased academic performance, increased anxieties, social problems, and aggression.1

Primary care providers are often the first health professionals to become aware of violence in a family. The safety issues associated with domestic violence, as well as the potential long-term adverse consequences of domestic violence for children and teens, speak to the urgent need for detection and intervention in primary care child and adolescent practice.

Key Facts:

  • Each year in the United States, women experience approximately 4.8 million intimate partner rapes and physical assaults, and men experience approximately 2.9 million intimate partner physical assaults.2
  • One-fourth to one-third of all U.S. women are at risk for experiencing domestic violence in their lifetime.1
  • Of females killed with a firearm, almost two-thirds were killed by their intimate partners.3
  • An estimated 3.3 million to 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.4


  1. Kerker, B. D., Horowitz, S. M., Leventhal, J. M., Plichta, S., & Leaf, P. J. (2000). Identification of violence in the home: Pediatric and parental reports. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 154, 457-462.
  2. Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000). Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice.
  3. The Violence Policy Center. (2009). When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2007 Homicide Data. Washington, D.C.: The Violence Policy Center.
  4. Lawrence, S. (2002). Domestic Violence and Welfare Policy: Research Findings That Can Inform Policies on Marriage and Child Well-Being. Columbia University, Research Forum on Children, Families, and the New Federalism. New York: National Center for Children in Poverty.