Domestic violence (DV), which is also known as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or Intimate Partner Aggression or Violence (IPAV), creates an increased risk of corporal punishment of children, which is known to create an increased risk of physical child abuse. According to a recently published study, "Use of Spanking for 3-year-old Children and Associated Intimate Partner Aggression or Violence" by Catherine Taylor, Ph.D., Shawna Lee, Ph.D., Neil Guterman, Ph.D. and Janet Rice, Ph.D., published in Pediatrics, Vol. 126, Number 3, a significant finding in their study was that adult VICTIMS of domestic violence (DV)/ Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)/Intimate Partner Aggression and Violence (IPAV) have an increased probability of using corporal punishment with their children. This is an important finding for those investigating child abuse cases when trying to determine the likely perpetrator of child abuse. It has already been established in published literature that there is an increased likelihood that a person who uses corporal punishment on a child would also abuse a child. Therefore, in homes where domestic violence is present, we now have published literature demonstrating a causal link between domestic violence and child abuse, via the connecting link of corporal punishment. Domestic leads to increased risk of corporal punishment, which leads to increased risk of child abuse.
The authors explain that there is statistically significant evidence that a victim of domestic violence is likely to inflict abuse on a child. Why? They offer two (2) explanations: Coercive Family Process (known as Patterson's theory) and Social Cognitive learning (Bandura's theory). The coercive family process is explained by the authors as an escalation of violence which occurs due to positive reinforcement after aggressive events. The social cognitive explanation is based on the normalization of observed behavior. Meaning, more specifically, that adult victims of domestic violence learn that violence is "normal" in her environment, and is part of what the authors describe as an "intrafamilial cycle of aggression" The authors demonstrate and highlight that an adult victim of domestic violence has increased odds of using corpoporal punishment.
While it would be easy to see, from a lay person's perspective, how the aggressor in an abusive adult relationship might be suspected to be the most likely person to inflict physical abuse on a child, this study confirms that is NOT necessarily the case.
In my opinion, if you are investigating a case where a child has been shaken or suffered abusive head trauma, it is critically important to determine whether there is domestic violence in the home or homes where the child has been left alone with adults. While most child abuse occurs when children are alone with the perpetrators, and children are too young to testify about what occurred to them - domestic violence is more likely to be witnessed and, by definition, there will be an adult victim who can testify that it occurred. Along with the medical evidence as to the likely time an injury was inflicted, and the importance of history related to the presentation of the abused child at the time medical care was begun, the presence of domestic violence is one more important piece of evidence which can and should be used to determine the likelihood of someone being a perpetrator of child abuse.
If you know a child who has been abused, and has suffered SBS or AHT, and you would like assistance on determining whether there is anything that can be done to help you help the child, feel free to contact the Keane Law Firm at no cost by toll-free phone (888-592-KIDS (5437), or through the internet. We will tell you if we can assist you in helping your child - either in a child abuse lawsuit, or shaken baby syndrome lawsuit, or head trauma lawsuit. This may help you obtain money which will help survivors of child abuse, survivors of shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma with home health care, a van or a home in which they can move a wheelchair easily.