London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Children living with violence: Identifying the effects on their behaviour and their views about their own self-image and school performance

Author(s) Koutselini, M. & Valanidou, F.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2012  
Editor P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell (eds.) Creating Communities: Local, National and Global  
Age group -  
This paper discusses the impact that children’s exposure to violence against their mothers has on their behaviour and their views on their own self-image and school performance. The phrase ‘children living with violence’ implies that children are actively involved in this situation, since they can interpret what they see or hear, they can feel the pain experienced by their mothers, and they can get anxious about the consequences of violence or even start blaming themselves for causing it. What our research points out is that: a) violence against women victimises not only mothers but also their children, even if those children are not themselves the direct target of violence, and b) the signs/effects of a child’s exposure to violence are as varied as children’s personalities and may be externalised in different contexts where children socialise and become socialised, such as school. This paper has emerged out of the VICTIMS project which was designed and conducted in four countries and funded by the European Commission programme DAPHNE III. It concentrates specifically on the findings from Cyprus, where eighty children between nine and eleven years old, forty of whom were identified to have been exposed to violence and forty randomly selected, participated in the research. A questionnaire was administered and data was analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The results indicated that children’s views on their self-image and school performance, as well as their reaction towards violence, differed depending on whether or not they had themselves been exposed to violence. Results will be of interest to those directly or indirectly involved in the education and development of children. Keywords: children’s exposure, violence against mother, effects, behavioural problems, self-image

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