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Consequences for Children

Definition of Family/Domestic Violence: “a pattern of purposeful behavior, including physical, sexual, psychological attacks and economic control, directed at achieving compliance from or control over an intimate partner." This includes everyone: children, teens, adults and elders.

50% of batterers also abuse their children. The remaining 50% of the children, who are not direct targets of that batterer have the same psychological impact as those that are direct targets. This means that 100% of children residing in violent homes are impacted by the violence they are seeing, hearing and living with.

Domestic violence in the home is also the ONLY actual predictive factor for child abuse. Domestic violence is a stronger factor predicting child abuse than substance abuse, economic pressure or other risk factors related to child abuse.

Harm occurs to children living in violent homes.

Children of violent homes often display impact in several functioning areas: behavioral, emotional, social, cognitive and physical. This is not an exhaustive list.

Behavioral consequences may include:

  • Aggression
  • Tantrums
  • Acting out
  • Immaturity
  • Truancy
  • Delinquency

Emotional consequences may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anger

Physical consequences may include:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Sleeplessness
  • Regressive behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Poor motor skills
  • Psychosomatic symptoms

Cognitive consequences may include:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Language lag

Social consequences may include:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Poor social skills
  • Rejection by peers

Direct Effects may include:

  • Harm directed at child
  • Using child as means to control parent victim
  • Physical danger to child
  • Emotional and behavioral problems stemming from attempts to cope with violence
  • Learning of aggressive behavior patterns

Indirect Effects may include:

  • Maternal physical and psychological ill-health resulting from stress of being abused
  • Exposure to paternal anger and irritability
  • Inconsistent or overly harsh parental disciplinary practices

Children are often not just witnesses to a parent’s abuse but may be involved in the incident by:

  • Seeking help
  • Being focus of an argument that led to violence
  • Becoming an alternate target for abuse

How to address safety with your child: Stop by or call our office for a child safety plan. We can also meet with you and your child to develop a child safety plan that addresses how to stay safe when parents are fighting, where to go, who to talk to etc.

Why Does Someone Stay with an Abuser?

We’re frequently asked why women stay in abusive relationships. We often respond with a question: Instead ask yourself why men are choosing to be abusive? Note: Not all men are abusive and not all abusers are men, but the majority of intimate partner violence happens to women by men (approximately 90%).

So why do victims choose to stay in an abusive relationship? The most frequent answer is the most simple and powerful: victims stay for love and the hope that the abuser will change. They also stay because of fear and for good reason: The most dangerous time in a violent relationship is when a victim is leaving.

There are many reasons why someone stays: fear, love, commitment, finances and religion are just a few. Sometimes, there just doesn’t seem to be a way out. It is important to remember that any relationship is difficult to leave – but a violent one has many extra layers of complexity and fear. Leaving is a process, and not a one time event.

As a society, we must support and empower victims in this process and hold the abuser accountable for the violence that he chooses to inflict. Remember, real love isn’t violent. Nobody deserves to be abused. Everyone deserves peace at home.

Cycle of Violence

We experience violence differently in close relationships than we do with a stranger. Perpetrators of intimate partner violence are motivated by dynamics of power and control. Intimate partner violence is a learned behavior that is created by observing others. Violence is reinforced when society fails to act. The cycle of violence nearly always increases in frequency and severity as time goes on. Sometimes the cycle takes a long time to get through, in other relationships the cycle is repeated more than one time in a day.

Fantasy Setup

Batterers and abusers fantasize about their past and future abuses, often without realizing the difference between fantasy and reality. These fantasies fuel the abuser’s anger. He begins to plan another attack by placing his victims in situations which he knows will anger him.

Tension building

The abuser might set up the victim so she is bound to anger him. The victim is apologetic, knowing her abuser is likely to erupt. She may even defend his actions.


The batterer behaves violently, inflicting pain and abuse on the victim.

Guilt of Fear and Reprisal

After the violence, the abuser may have feelings of guilt. Often these are thinly disguised fears of being caught. He may blame drugs or alcohol for the outburst.

Blaming the Victim

The abuser can’t stand the feelings of guilt and fear, so he quickly rationalizes his actions and blames the victim. “It was her fault.” “She made me hit her.” “She asked for it.”


At this point, the abuser often exhibits kind and loving behavior and minimizes the abuse that happened. Sometimes the normalcy is welcomed by both parties, sometimes it is not as the victim intuitively knows what is coming next.…Soon, the cycle begins again when the abuser begins to fantasize about power and control.

Any person, man, woman, child, teen, elder can be a victim of intimate partner violence. However, the majority of adult victims are women (90%).  Peace at Home provides services to all victims, regardless of gender or age.

Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

Domestic Violence is also called family violence, spousal abuse and intimate partner violence. All of these have the same definition which is: A pattern of purposeful behavior, including physical, sexual, psychological attacks and economic control, directed at achieving compliance from or control over an intimate partner. We experience this kind of violence, from an intimate partner, differently than if it were at the hands of a stranger.  And intimate partner can be any one you have an emotionally intimate relationship with.

Domestic violence has been shown to be a precursor to many social ills such as:

  • Delinquency
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Birth defects
  • Mental illness
  • Chronic disease

How big is the problem of domestic violence?

  • 1 in 4 women are victims in their lifetime
  • Largest cause of injury to women in the U.S.
  • 90% of victims are women
  • 30% of women in emergency rooms are victims of domestic violence
  • 44-70% of women murdered are killed by an intimate partner
  • 50% of batterers also abuse their children

The Impact of Domestic Violence in Douglas County, Oregon:

  • Douglas County schools survey found that 35% of sixth grade students had witnessed domestic violence at home
  • Over 4,000 shelter nights at BPA for families fleeing domestic violence each year
  • Over 700+ restraining orders filed each year
  • Over 6,000 crisis calls each year
  • Programs such as Peace at Home typically serve only 5-10% of the victim population
Poverty and Domestic Violence

Not all victims and survivors of intimate partner violence are living in poverty, but many do. Economic pressure when there is already violence in the home makes it worse; but not having a job or living in poverty does not CAUSE domestic violence/intimate partner violence.

The picture of women, domestic violence and poverty:

  • Majority of people living in poverty are women
  • Rates of poverty higher for women than men
  • Gender gap wider in U.S. than anywhere in the Western world
  • 90% adult victims of DV are women
  • 1 in 4 women experience IPV/DV in their lifetime1 in 8 adult women experienced physical violence at hands of intimate partner in last 12 months in Oregon
  • 50% of batterers also batter their children
  • 100% of children living in homes where DV is present have psychological impact.

Effects of Poverty/Poor Economy on DV and DV Victims

  • Approximate 80% of people requesting assistance from DHS Self Sufficiency list history of DV
  • 200%+ increase in request for services at Peace at Home since 2002
  • Significant spike in requests last quarter '08

Poverty is aggravating factor in dynamics of DV

  • Increased lethality
  • Increased complexity
  • Reduced options and resources
  • Reduced civil options
  • Reduced housing/basic need options
Sexual Assault

Any touch or act that is sexual in content and is used for the gratification (not necessarily sexual gratification) of the perpetrator by force, threat of force, trickery, coercion, bribery or between 2 or more people where an imbalance exists in age, size, power or knowledge.

  • Every minute a forcible rape occurs in the U.S.
  • 1 in 6 women are vaginally raped at some point in their life
  • 1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted during their life
  • 1 in 7 male children are sexually abused before 18
  • 1 in 3 female children are sexually abused before 18
  • Married women have a 1 in 7 chance of being raped by a husband
  • Marital rape is a crime in Oregon

Peace at Home coordinates sexual assault response in Douglas County, specifically the Sexual Assault Services Team (SART).  We also provide 24-hour a day acute medical response at the hospital and many other follow up support services for victims of rape and sexual assault.  For more information on sexual assault, please see our services section.


Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would put a reasonable person in fear. Stalking is usually a series of non-criminal behaviors that by themselves and to outsiders seem normal, but within the context of the pattern and to the person they are aimed at they cause fear.

One example from a client that illustrates this is: "Sometimes I unlock my car and find a rose on the seat. No note, just the rose. I know he got into my car and left it there to terrorize me, to let me know that he’s watching me and can get to me at any time."  Putting a rose in somebody’s car by itself may not be a criminal act, but within the larger context and pattern of behavior it causes fear and fear is what makes it a crime of stalking.

There is no one profile for stalkers. Every stalker is different and every stalking situation is complex. Start by understanding that the victim is never at fault for the stalking. If you are being stalked, you are not crazy, you are not over reacting, you are not alone, you have options. Talking with an advocate about safety and options is the best place to begin. Logging behaviors of the stalker with dates, times and details are important if any legal action is pursued.

Call our crisis line and speak to our legal advocate for more information about stalking: 541-673-7867.


  • Stalking is a crime
  • Many people are stalked: 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime
  • Stalking can be very dangerous: 76% of women killed by their intimate partners were stalked by these partners before they were killed
  • Stalking is harmful and intrusive
  • Anyone can be stalked-not just celebrities
  • Stalking can occur during a relationship, after a relationship or in the absence of a relationship
  • Technology can be used to stalk
  • Effective responses to stalking include the entire community

You can make a difference. Volunteer at Peace at Home or go to www.ncvc.org/src for more information about stalking and how to fight it. Help is available-you are not alone. Call Peace at Home 24-hours a day, 7 days a week 547-673-7867 or 1-800-464-6543.

Trauma & the Aftermath

Trauma can be a defining experience in a person’s life, and not just a single event that one “gets over”. 

Trauma to an individual impacts families and whole communities.

Trauma is often passed down through generations, through culture or upbringing. Many (but not all) abusers were victims in their childhood and witnessed that it was ok to treat those you loved with violence and abuse. Many are victims of intimate partner violence.

Trauma survivors often experience symptoms such as (this is not an exhaustive list and is only meant to give some context):

  • Amnesia
  • Alterations in perceptions of self and others
  • Somatization (physical symptoms such as chronic pain in the digestive system and/or sexual organs)
  • Loss of meaning or self-control
  • Feelings of despair and helplessness

Successful programs help individuals recognize that trauma is a part of life experience, and build upon each client’s strengths to create a sense of empowerment.

It is essential to promote healing for victims, provide options and support the choice of the individual. First and foremost, we must work not to re-traumatize the victim.

Peace at Home focuses on building resilience and courage and empowering victims to become survivors.  We do this by creating an environment conducive to healing, and being a partner and resource to help our clients achieve their own goals toward safety.