ABUSED children become abusers or are faced with serious health issues, says officials in childcare and protection who are calling for more measures to deal with youngsters struggling with domestic violence.
The childcare representatives shared their views during a HEART Trust/NSTA Garmex Academy’s Parenting Workshop recently, under the theme, ‘Help Mi nuh! Creating Mentally Healthy Children Amidst Domestic Violence’.
According to executive director at Children First, Claudette Richardson Pious, there are a lot of unsettled issues because seeking therapy is not a favourable solution.
“In foreign… it’s stylish, everybody goes for whatever reason and here we don’t have the resources either and the support system, so a lot of children grow up carrying this baggage,” she said.
“When they get into their adulthood, they actually play out and do some of the things that took place in their childhood. Also, you find out that a lot of the violence you see happening has to do with some of these unresolved issues,” she said.
Sharing a similar view, dean of discipline at Cedar Grove Academy Antonio Baker said while counselling service in Jamaica is not regularly utilised, it is also expensive.
“A session could run to about $7,500 for the hour. We also need to understand that domestic violence causes children to be exposed to trauma and when traumatic experiences happen, children have to find ways to deal with them. As adults we are sometimes not emotionally developed to deal with traumatic experiences, so imagine children,” he said.
“The truth is anything that happens to us affects us whether negatively or positively. I think that abuse, domestic abuse has a negative impact on our children and it is so severe because these are things that happen throughout life,” he stressed.
Associate clinical psychologist at Child Protection and Family Services Agency, Melody Samuels pointed to research which has proven adverse childhood experiences have a profound and wide ranging effects on adults.
“A person who grows up in an environment where, as a child they were being abused or where they are witnessing, overhearing parents in conflict, when they become adults they are actually several times more likely to have certain illnesses such as heart disease, cardiopulmonary diseases, diabetes, asthma. People are going to be impacted in those ways just because of the impact of stress on their bodies,” she said.
She also said the children are more likely to become prone to suicide and are less likely to maintain a stable job.
“So much more profoundly, that impacts the entirety of their lives when they experience adverse childhood experiences and domestic violence is a prime example of this,” she said.
Senior legal policy officer at Office of the Children’s Advocate Shamsi Green added, “It becomes a cycle where the children who are abused become abusers and so we can see that it actually passes on to their adult lives and much of the violent crimes that we see committed starts from the home”.