Children witnessing domestic violence are at high risk of becoming aggressors or victims of violence when they grow up, the Women's Rescue Foundation in Taipei said yesterday as it unveiled a curriculum designed to help young children deal with violence at home.
The foundation said that last year, 5,500 cases of domestic violence were reported each month nationwide. The government estimates that more than 160,000 minors have witnessed such violence between 2001 to 2005.
"It is difficult to give the exact number of children who witness domestic violence in the country. But it is safe to say the number is a lot higher than children who have sustained physical abuse," Lin said.
Many witnesses are suffering alone in the dark because they do not display any outward signs of physical abuse, she said.
Foundation chairwoman Sandy Yeh (
"Sometimes parents have huge arguments over something the child did -- a little thing. Although the underlying reason for the fight was about something else, the child recognizes that he was the trigger point and ends up blaming himself. Any child could be scarred for life if this happened frequently enough," Yeh said.
Other deleterious side effects of long-term exposure to violence include the inability to trust others, lack of empathy, exaggerated fears, sleep disorder, depression, anxiety, learning problems and feelings of guilt.
Boys who witness violence at home are likelier to become aggressors while girls often become victims of abuse, the foundation said.
The curriculum, designed by 50 teachers across the country, is aimed at elementary school teachers to help children identify domestic violence and learn how to seek help if they are victims of abuse.
Kang Shu-hua (
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