Domestic Violence and Children Mental Health
Olusegun Afolabi had his first degree, B.Sc (Hon) Psychology from University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 1998, Master degree in Children Health Development Learning Intervention (M. CHILD) from Malardalen University, Sweden in 2006, Master of Social Work (Clinical) from University of Botswana, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) from Atlantic International University, USA and PhD in Special Education from University of Botswana . Dr. Afolabi, is a member of British Psychological Society (MBPsS) and International Society in Early Intervention (ISEI).
Domestic Violence and Children Mental Health
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
Domestic violence is globally described by various scholars, academicians and professionals in human development as a stern social problem, and to say the least, a human rights violation. Recent debate on domestic violence explains the significant influence it has on children's mental health. Research over the years creates more awareness about the ordeal of children induced by family violence [McIntosh, 2009]. Nevertheless, the main problems identifies in domestic violence literatures is how to connect the vulnerable young children with the probable inter-spousal trauma that disrupt their neurological and biochemical pathways in development (Dodd, 2009, Kershaw et al 2008, Barnish, 2004, McGee 1997, Humphreys, 2006,).
Moreover, literature confirms the existing relationships between exposure to domestic violence (DV) and children's development. For example, the British Psychological Society (BPS 2007) states that witness domestic violence at home will impact negatively on children quality of life. Besides, it is also establish that community offers limited support to tackle the problem of domestic violence. This is due to the increase in traditional and social cultural factors that mitigate such aggressive behavior. The term "domestic violence" is generally denotes as intimate conditions in which any of the partners in a household abused or abusing the other partner psychologically or physically. This situation is not limit to only one sex partner in a household but associates with both men and women living together in the same household (Holt, Buckley &Whelan, 2008). Moreover, domestic violence is a gender oriented and it creates social and public health issues that cut across nations, cultures religion and class (McIntosh, 2002, Dodd, 2009, UNIFEM 2007, Mooney 2000) and at the same time it is associates with particular cultural cum tribal communities, or restricted to a group in the society. While it is widely agree that intimate partner violence demonstrates a social problem that cut across nation, race, culture, ethnic groups and traditions, the recent challenges poses by its occurrence increases the interest and awareness that emanates from children exposure to DV. This deepened the observed awareness about its implication and influence on vulnerable young children (Hague & Mullender, 2006; Hazen, Connolly, Kelleher, Barth, & Landsverk, 2006).
Earlier research shows that children living in a domestic violence environment are prone to violent, frighten and other antisocial behavior. It is also establish that children living in hostile environment displayed low-level of social capability, and learning outcomes in school (Kitzmann, Gaylord, Holt & Kenny, 2003; Wolfe, Crooks, Lee McIntyre-Smith & Jaffe, 2003, Edleson & Nissley, 2011). Therefore, domestic violence encompasses all social, economic, religious and ethnic groups in the society (McIntosh, 2002, Dodd, 2009). Despite this evidence reports confirms that families from low socioeconomic background are the most affected compare to those from high socioeconomic background.
Furthermore, research suggests that growing in a hostile and unfriendly environment impact on children emotional, physical, and social development. Therefore children experiencing or associating with domestic violence develops service needs that correlates with their safety and impact on their mental, physical, and cognitive development. Dodd (2009), maintains that children raise in a domestic violence environment experiences poor socio-cognitive development in life .This influence their emotional, social, behavioral and intellectual development (Lazenbatt et al, 2009). The exposure of young people to DV results to high aggressiveness, anxiety, and changes in their social skills particularly, ho