Student Research Projects

Domestic Violence: The Long-Term Effect on Witnesses

Student Brittany Keller, '18
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Social Work
Course SW 450: Research Methods in Social Work


The purpose of the study was to determine the possible detrimental long-term effect that domestic violence has on the children that witness it in their homes. Only half of the United States have laws and regulations that implement punishment for caregivers who expose children to a domestic abuse, this includes emotional damage. In nine states, it is considered, “aggravating circumstances” and warrants a harsher punishment. To date, the state of Virginia does not acknowledge this as a punitive issue. Using purposive sampling, surveys were distributed to people who were either abused themselves or were openly admitting to being an addict to see if the root cause may be the holistic atmosphere they were exposed to. It was reported that 30% of the ones surveyed had been exposed to domestic abuse at some point in their childhood. Of the ones surveyed, who had been victims themselves of domestic abuse, 35% had witnessed it in childhood. The results support those of previous studies. Some new information was gathered however over the cycle and if it was continued and carried on to future relationships.