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Domestic violence can affect children developmentally

It is said that children are resilient and will bounce back from the most negative experiences. This may be true; however, there are some things that, once witnessed, can never be unseen. Many California children watch daily as one parent subjects the other to domestic violence and verbal abuse, unable to intervene, sometimes becoming targets themselves. The adult victim may not always understand or be aware of the impact the abuse is having on his or her child's well-being, but studies show that the children may be affected developmentally as well as emotionally.

A group of students have decide to challenge their school district's education policy, demanding additional support for students who have experienced domestic violence. Research suggests that sustained exposure to stress can affect brain development, leading to a detrimental effect on academic achievement. If these students were given additional help, similar to that which is given to students with other learning challenges, it would assist them in keeping up with their peers.

Federal laws include ones that relate to anti-discrimination, meaning that schools have to accommodate special needs of children in order to provide equal opportunities in education. Studies show that an increasing number of children experience abuse in various forms, and they also witness it within their home environments. These are collectively known as adverse childhood experiences, and they often serve as precursors to future issues, including social and health-related issues, that can follow individuals throughout their lives.

For California parents who are currently caught in the vice of domestic violence, it can be hard to find the strength to leave an abusive spouse. Understanding the severity with which an abusive home environment may impact upon one's child may be the factor that finally allows one to find the courage to take action. There are various ways in which one may find sanctuary in the early days, and getting the appropriate advice in order to move forward into a positive future may be the first step in giving one's children a better chance to shine academically.

Source: californiahealthline.org, "Cities Begin To Count The Scars Of Childhood, And Try To Prevent The Damage", Sarah Varney, Apr. 21, 2016

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