Lesson 5 - Domestic Violence

When domestic violence results in direct physical injury to a child, a suspected child abuse report must be made. Even when domestic violence does not result in physical injury, children in homes where domestic violence occurs are also at risk due to exposure. Children who witness domestic violence tend to be more aggressive and anxious than children from non-violent homes and are less likely to be successful in school and social activities. They are at higher risk for delinquent behavior, separation anxiety, developmental regression, and sleep problems, including nightmares. Children who have not observed the incident are usually aware of the violence even when others believe they were asleep or otherwise engaged, and it is important to ensure their safety, both physical and psychological.

Although making a suspected child abuse report is not always mandated in domestic violence situations, domestic violence may be reported as emotional abuse (P.C. 11166.05). Furthermore, because children are more likely to be subjected to abuse and neglect in homes where domestic violence occurs, a suspected child abuse report should be made in order to allow investigative agencies to conduct a thorough assessment.

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