Intimate partner violence was first
known as a domestic violence that was done by a spouse or partner in an
intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner. From the definition,
we have now on IPV it has evolved and includes emotional and sexual violence
and is no longer exclusive to just a martial relationship. IPV now can include
a current or former intimate partner, it can also take a number of forms,
including physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse. When it comes
to IPV, violence against a minor in the past meant that a man was just keeping
his child “in line.”

For child maltreatment, laws did
not exist until 1875. The society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(SPCA) was the first organization to intervene on behalf of the children who
were being mistreated. The Houses of Refuge existed for delinquent kids and
also kids who were being maltreated. In 1899, in Cook County, Illinois the
first Juvenile Court was implemented. In the 1940s – 1950s, the second wave of
attention to child maltreatment was issued. By the 1960s, the American Medical
Association published a set presentation talking about battered child syndrome.
By 1974, Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was defined as child abuse
and neglect.

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In the United States, exposer to
intimate partner violence (IPV), were assaults done by the parents and
witnessed by children. In a survey, they tested the number of children and
teens that were witnesses to violence by an adult household member. The results
showed, that there was an unacceptable rate on the number of children that are
exposed to violence in the home. At least, 1 in 9 people are exposed to some
type of family violence in the past year, including 1 in 15 people are exposed
to IPV between their parents (OJJDP, 2011). Children who witness intimate
partner violence should be assessed immediately.

Being exposed to IPV can be
worrying to a child, and can be associated with mental health symptoms starting
during their childhood and leading to the adulthood. One study found that,
among a sample of IPV offenders, those who were a child and saw a parent use a
weapon were more likely to commit an offense involving a weapon than as an
adult (Murrell et. Al., 2005). Despite documented evidence of the consequences
that comes from being exposed to IPV there is still a growing discussion on
appropriate policies to respond to being exposed to IPV. In the second National
Family Violence Survey conducted in 1985, Straus and Gelles asked adults if
they had witnessed IPV during their childhood and their results showed that 13
percent were exposed to IPV as a child (Straus, 1992).

The most direct form of exposure is
seeing or direct eye witnessing, it could also include lower levels of exposure
which is hearing. Seeing the violence means that a child is present, by having
the child in the room could also put the child in danger, having witnessed the
violence there is no error in interpretation. For example, a child could be in
another room while the violence is being done. Which means they are hearing
what is going on and not witnessing anything. Because they are just hearing
children may mistake the violence for just noise from the television, or, they
might not even hear the assault happening even though they are in the same house
or apartment.

Even though children may not be
witnesses to the violence when it occurs they can be aware after the fact, for
example, seeing the injures afterwards. This type of exposure will usually
coexist with the assault because most injuries eventually heal. Children can be
told about the assault after it occurs or even years after depending on when
the child starts see the harm done to the victim. Several authors have
discussed this type of exposure other than direct eyewitness of children’s total
exposure to family violence (Fantuzzo and Mohr, 1999; Holden, 2003)
nevertheless, there have not been nationally representative data on this type
of exposure.

There are four different types of
exposure in a hierarchical fashion from most to least direct: eye witnessing or
seeing violence, hearing but no seeing it, seeing injuries afterwards but not
seeing or hearing the actual assault, and being told about the violence without
any of the above. Eye witnessing the is the most immediate type of exposure
which can account from 65 to 86 percent.

In the study done in 2006, by
McDonald and colleagues, an analysis was done to see that if IPV was done in
household with children, then the children were going to be exposed to
violence, which they thought would be unlikely given that violence in a
household tends to be private. While in a survey done by NatSCEV compared work
done by Straus (1992) and Zinzow (2009) and found that even if violence acts
done in a household are private there are still possibilities of exposure.

According the OJJDP (2011), there
have been comprehensive national estimates about children being exposed to IPV
and other types of family violence that have several important ramifications.
First, they provide a new more scientific ground basis on which education,
advocacy, and public policy can be advanced with authority and urgency. Second,
they provide a safe place to study and monitor the direction of IPV, while
professionals and policymakers try and reduce the amount of people that are
exposed to family violence. Third, they try to have a more sympathetic
understanding of all types of people who are exposed to IPV and other types of
family violence. There tends to be a higher rate of both internalizing and
externalizing problem that come from children being exposed to IPV than people
who were not exposed to IPV, which could then lead to maladaptive and
behavioral development problems. IPV is underestimated and researchers are not
seeing the full impact that can come out of IPV. Children being exposed to IPV
can hamper the development of the child. The following studies will give a
better understanding to the negative effects and long-term damage that children
go through when witness IPV during their childhood. 

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