The horrible effects of spousal abuse can be wide-reaching. Not only can spousal abuse severely hurt the victim, it also can have major negative impacts on a couple’s children. Witnessing an act of spousal abuse can be incredibly traumatic to a child, causing great emotional harm. A recent study indicates that it may even affect a child down to their genetic level.
The study, which was done by researchers at the Tulane University School of Medicine, involved a genetic analysis of a group of children. The ages of the children ranged from 5 to 15.
The study found that the children who had experienced extremely stressful situations, such as witnessing domestic violence, on a more frequent basis were more likely to have a certain issue with their DNA. The issue in question is shortened telomeres. Shortened telomeres are associated with a variety of significant health problems, including shortened life spans.
Girls were particularly vulnerable to suffering negative effects in relation to witnessing domestic violence, the study found.
In addition to being concerned about their child being negatively impacted by witnessing an incident of abuse, another thing that a Texan who has been abused by a spouse or a partner may be worried about is that the spouse/partner may eventually directly engage in abuse against their child. An important thing for spousal/partner abuse victims with children to know is that, in addition to legal protections for themselves, they may also be able to seek legal protections for their children. Domestic violence attorneys can provide advice to spousal/partner abuse victims with children regarding what to do following an incident of abuse.
Source: WDSU, “Study: Home violence witnessed, experienced by children can alter DNA,” LaTonya Norton, June 16, 2014