Many violent intimate partners are also violent parents. The size of the overlap between domestic violence and child abuse is usually at least 35% and may be as high as 70% when the couple has children in common.
Even when children are not direct targets seeing one parent be violent against another, hearing it happen, or later seeing injuries or hearing about it are traumatic events for children. Witnessing violence during childhood puts children at higher risk for significant learning and health problems that can last a lifetime. Drug and alcohol abuse, depression and suicide all occur in child witnesses more often than adults who were raised in safe homes.
Protective orders from Maryland courts can protect both the adult victim and the children. Children are at high risk when they try to intervene to protect a parent, or when the abusing parent drives while high or inebriated.
Tragically, children are also at risk of homicide by intimate partner abusers. Children are sometimes killed to “punish” the victim, or other times are killed by the abuser as part of a murder-suicide.