Domestic violence is a significant public health problem. According to national surveys, a minimum of 1.5 million women experience abuse by a male romantic partner annually in the United States with about 4.8 million incidents of domestic violence perpetrated against women yearly. Community-based surveys also suggest high rates of domestic violence, estimating 12-month prevalence rates ranging from 18-57%.
Domestic violence includes psychological, physical, and/or sexual abuse, and can range from mild (shook a fist at you) to severe (hit or choked you).
The psychological effects of experiencing domestic violence are well-documented for both women and children. Abused women are at risk for developing a multitude of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociation, substance abuse, low self-esteem, and physical ailments without medical cause.
Children exposed to domestic violence are also at high risk for developing mental health problems. Child witnesses exhibit anxiety, depression, trauma symptoms, and aggressive behavior. Furthermore, exposure to domestic violence in childhood is related to perpetration of partner violence in adulthood.
Despite the significant psychological toll of domestic violence, many women do not seek help due to feelings or powerlessness, helplessness, or shame, or due to fear that the abuse will escalate. However, help is available. Health providers are increasingly aware of the prevalence and consequences of domestic violence, as well as effective interventions. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, seek help today! Call Great Lakes Psychology Group at 800-693-1916 or schedule an appointment online on our website.