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The effects of domestic violence on children and their classmates

We all know that domestic violence can have a serious impact on children, even if they aren’t the direct victims of the violence. Witnessing it in the home between their parents or other adults can cause emotional and behavioral issues that can impact the rest of their lives.

The problem goes beyond the roughly 10 to 20 percent of kids who live in households where there’s violence, however. It can impact their classmates as well, according to counselors and teachers. Research has backed this up as well.

Kids who live in violent homes are more likely to display aggressive behavior towards their classmates. As one school counselor notes, they have a greater sense of power at school “because they are completely powerless at home.”

Even if children aren’t bullying their classmates, if they’re acting out, they demand more of their teachers’ attention. This can impact the performance of their classmates.

The evidence is more than anecdotal. An economist at the University of California, Davis has studied the impact on test scores, college attendance and income levels. He and his colleagues looked at kids whose parent had filed a restraining order as well as their classmates.

His study found that “exposure to an additional disruptive peer throughout elementary school leads to a 3 to 4 percent reduction in earnings at age 24 to 28.” This was even greater when multiple kids in a classroom were exposed to domestic violence.

Both this UC Davis economist and those in education agree that when domestic violence is reported and dealt with, children and their classmates do better at school. The economist notes that “society has a vested interest in helping those families that are struggling with domestic violence. The more we can help other households, the better off our children will be.”

If you’re the victim of domestic violence, it’s essential to get help, not just for yourself, but for your children. The first step is to get to someplace where you and your children are safe. There are plenty of resources in the Las Vegas area to help families who need to leave a violent home. A Nevada attorney can help you seek a protective order and take other legal steps to help you ensure your safety.

Source: National Public Radio, “How Domestic Violence In One Home Affects Every Child In A Class,” Gabrielle Emanuel, Sep. 03, 2016

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