Children of murdered parents ‘often experience domestic violence too’

family life

Many children who lose a parent to domestic violence previously lived in homes wracked by domestic violence researchers say.

A team from Monash University in Melbourne studied material relating to 256 youngsters in the Netherlands who had all suffered the tremendous tragedy of losing a parent to domestic violence between 2003 and 2012. Amongst the material they studied were court transcripts, newspaper stories and child protection reports.

Around two thirds of the subjects had already been exposed to violence in the home before the murder took place, but many had received no help coping with those experiences. The remainder had not previously come to the attention of social services or mental health professionals at all. Most of the children had been in the same building as their parents when their mother or father was murdered.

The troubled home life experienced by many such children prior to the murder suggests, the researchers say, that they may need more than bereavement support.

Lead researcher Eva Alisic said:

“The life of these children is literally turned upside down [when a parent is murdered]. At once they lose both parents and often their home and school environment too, because they have to move. Our data suggest that these children are even more burdened than we already expected.”

The study was published in the multidisciplinary ‘open access’ academic journal PLOS ONE.

Read more here.

Image by Ray Forster via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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