The Family Resource Centre says it’s seeing a rise in domestic abuse reports, with 1 out of 3 women experiencing abuse. And while they say this could be an increase in reporting or people just coming forward, looking for support, they are concerned about children growing up in those circumstances. Today (29 January) they are reaching out to those in the community living in abusive situations to let them know help is available, Cayman 27’s Philipp Richter explains.
Family Resource Programme Facilitator, Erin Hislop said there is a common misconception that children are not affected by domestic abuse if they do not witness it.
“A lot of the research points to the fact that that’s really not true, just living in a home with domestic violence puts that child at risk of a lot of behavioral issues, a lot of social delays, a lot of internalizing and kind of self-blaming for the behavior that is going on,” said Ms. Hislop.
But she said growing up in an abusive environment has a significant impact on a child’s life, in fact, the FRC reports that children who witness domestic violence are five times more likely to abuse or be abused.
“Mimicking can take place, taking on the roles of either the victim or the perpetrator, becoming aggressive on the playground, becoming aggressive towards the parents themselves, or becoming shut down and submissive and isolated,” said Ms. Hislop.
When it comes to adults, women who experience violence also have a 50% higher incidence of miscarriage. According to statistics obtained by the Cayman Crisis Center, 25-45% of all women who are exposed to domestic violence are being abused during pregnancy.
“But also just experiencing emotional or psychological abuse can cause thing such as strain on the mother’s milk production, she’s now not in a healthy mental state to be nurturing to that baby,” said Ms. Hislop.
As for the rise of domestic violence, Ms. Hislop said the numbers are suggesting a cultural shift in the Cayman Islands.
“To break that kind of norm, everyone keeping their quote unquote business to themselves and knowing there is nothing wrong with seeking help,” said Ms. Hislop.
The FRC said they have had a lot of requests in their domestic violence training to talk about the effects it has on children and will address it in upcoming workshops.
Police said they will be issuing updated crime statistics next month.
For more information http://www.frc.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/wrchome