Childhood Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence

The following statistics are from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence for children ages 0-17, unless otherwise indicated (1):

In 2014:

  • Almost 25% had witnessed violence in their family or community in the past year.

  • About 8% witnessed a family assault and almost 6% witnessed a parent assault another parent.

  • 32% of youth (14-17 yrs) witnessed a family assault and 25% witnessed a parent assault another parent in their lifetime.  

Children and youth who are exposed to intimate partner violence may be at higher risk for emotional and behavioral challenges, including anxiety, depression, issues surrounding school performance, low self-esteem, nightmares, and physical health complaints (2).

Children and youth are impacted by intimate partner violence, not just as something they see or hear, but actually something they live and experience. Children may be used as a tool or pawn in the abuse. In addition, children can also be victims of abuse themselves.

It's important to address trauma early in a child's life because:

  • Patterns of trauma aren’t as established.

  • It’s easier to address and mitigate challenging behaviors that resulted from the trauma.

  • Establishing positive coping mechanisms early in a child’s development helps them deal with stress in a healthy way throughout the rest of their life.


  1. Finkelhor, David, and Turner, Heather. National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence III, 1997-2014 [United States]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2016-09-29.

  2. Vuong, Silva, and Marchionna (2009). Children Exposed to Violence: Views From the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. National Criminal Justice Reference Series. Accessed online on April 10, 2018 from