19 Days of Activism: Domestic violence and its impact on children

Nov 08, 2019 at 09:08 am by Child Advocacy Center

19 Days of Activism

Since Jan. 1, 2019, Smyrna Police Department has responded to 944 reports of domestic disturbances. This is in comparison to the 703 reports that officers responded to during the same time period of 2018.

Many of these incidents did not result in a physical assault, but did involve a report that could escalate into a violent episode. Smyrna Police Department is very concerned when a domestic assault occurs but is also proactive in attempts to prevent the situation from escalating into physical harm.

Many of the reports of domestic disturbances that are received by law enforcement agencies involve children. These children may not have been actively involved in the incident, they may be asleep or in another room.

However, when a child is living in a home where arguing and fighting is a part of their daily routine, the child is at risk of suffering both emotional and physical harm.

With the current awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) such as witnessing domestic violence in the home and the impact that these experiences have on a developing child, it is important to prevent children from witnessing domestic violence as well as provide support for those children who have lived in a home where arguing and/or violence is part of their daily lives.

Some of the common effects on children who witness domestic violence are anxiety, depression, academic problems, hypervigilance, and they may have difficulty with impulse control.

Smyrna Police Department’s response to this issue is that our officers receive training regarding domestic violence and the risks that it places on children in the home.

The officer completes a Risk Assessment with the victim as well as makes a referral to The Department of Children’s Services.

The family is also contacted by either a detective or Community Services Coordinator to determine if any additional assistance is needed.

If additional assistance is needed, the family is referred to the appropriate community agency that can assist them.


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