Date of this Version
The published research on children’s exposure to domestic violence focuses largely on two aspects of their experience: the trauma of witnessing physical assaults against their mother, and the tension produced by living with a high level of conflict between their parents. As important as these factors are, they reflect only one aspect of many complex problems that typically pervade the children’s daily lives. The bulk of these difficulties have their roots in the fact that the children are living with a batterer present in their home. The parenting characteristics commonly observed in batterers have implications for the children’s emotional and physical well-being, their relationships with their mothers and siblings, and the development of their belief systems. All of these issues need to be examined in making determinations regarding custody and visitation in cases involving histories of domestic violence.