The health and social impacts of family violence
Family violence is a serious public health issue. It can cause a range of short-term or long-term health problems, and can even result in death. The impacts of family violence can be physical, mental, cognitive and behavioural.
Family violence can also affect people's social or economic situations. For example, the experience of family violence can contribute to living in poverty, dropping out of school or having limited options for safe and affordable housing. At the same time, social conditions can affect a family's risk for violence. Poverty, a low level of education, or poor housing situations can make families more vulnerable to family violence.
Research shows that the longer and more severe the abuse, the worse the health and social impacts are, and the longer it takes for families and individuals to recover. For example, if a child lives with abuse or is exposed to violence in the home, the effects on health can last a lifetime.
Less control of emotions
Problems with parent-child bonding
Delays in growth & development
Failure at school
Problems with friendships
Anti-social behaviour (Conduct disorder)
Alcohol & drug use
Other risky behaviours
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Diseases & pain
Trouble with relationships
Lack of stable employment
Depression & loneliness
Text Equivalent - Figure 1
This figure groups the health and social problems that result from family violence according to the stage of life in which they are most evident.
Adapted from: MacMillan, HL, Wathen, CN. (2014). Research Brief: Interventions to Prevent Child Maltreatment. PreVAiL: Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan Research Network (PDF document). London, ON.
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