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The Generational Cycle of Violence

Violence is a learned behavior. Many children who witness abuse grow up to repeat the behavior as spouses and parents: children repeat what they have been taught.

More than 3 million children witness acts of domestic violence every year in their home: the place they should be the safest. In homes where one parent perpetrates violence against the other parent, the children are abused at a rate 1500% higher than the national average. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Washington D.C.

Little boys who grow up in homes where domestic violence is occurring are 100 times more likely to become abusers than boys in violence-free homes. Senator Joseph Biden, Violence Against Women: Victims of the System (Washington D.C.: U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary

81% of men who batter had fathers who abused their mother. "The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children", N.J. Department of Community of Community Affairs, Division of Women

As violence against the woman becomes more severe and more frequent in a home, the children experience a 300% increase in physical abuse by the adult male abuser. Straus & Gelles, Physical Violence in America

63% of young men 11-20 years of age who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser. The March of Dimes

A history of child abuse increases a person’s likelihood of being arrested by 53%. Penn State University

Violent juvenile delinquents are four times more likely than other youths to come from homes in which their fathers batter their mothers. Women's’ Action Coalition

Children who experience violence at home often turn this violence out on the community. A high percentage of juvenile delinquents are battered children. 80% of men in prisons grew up in violent homes. Breaking the Cycle, 2002

Often, teenagers from violent homes turn to drugs and/or alcohol for release and comfort. Many escape into early and poor marriages and/or pregnancies. Breaking the Cycle, 2002

A child’s exposure to the father abusing the mother is the strongest risk factor of transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next.

Report of the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family, APA, 1996

For additional statistical information please see:

NCADV Effects on Children

Violence is always a choice.

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