Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, economic background, religion or gender. It can happen to couples who are married, living together or who are dating. People in abusive relationships may not even realize the negative effects they are experiencing.
Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological and may involve threats of actions that influence another person. Domestic violence can have serious long term effects on a child’s physical and emotional development.
It is estimated that 3-4 million women are battered annually in the U.S. When the parent of a child is being abused, the child is also at greater risk for abuse than those children growing up in non-violent homes. In homes where there is domestic violence, studies estimate the number of children at risk for exposure to family violence to be between 3.3 million and 10 million.
Domestic violence is a healthcare issue for many families, and it can be especially harmful to children who are vulnerable. Many pregnant women, who are victims of domestic violence, are at a greater risk for low-birth weight babies, premature births, high-risk pregnancies and even death.
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury and death for pregnant women. Up to 45% of adolescent mothers experience intimate-partner violence before, during or just after their pregnancy. The impact of domestic violence on adults and children can include, but is not limited to, physical, emotional and psychological effects.
Help is available
Children's Hospital Colorado strives to actively asses the safety of its patients and their families. If you are visiting Children's and would like to speak to someone about feeling unsafe in your home, or about interpersonal violence, hospital social workers are available to speak with you confidentially at your request. Please, don't hesitate to ask for help.
If you are or someone you know may be affected by domestic violence, there is also help available in our communities. For more information and for resources in our community, consider the following.