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Naming the Unmentionable: How Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence Articulate Their Experiences

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2011 Pages: 117-129
Anna Georgsson; Kjerstin Almqvist; Anders G. Broberg
Date Published
February 2011
13 pages
This study examined experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) from the perspective of children.
Witnessing intimate partner violence (IPV) is a frightening experience that affects children's development and well-being. Interviews with 14 children between 8 and 12 years of age were analyzed using a thematic method. Three main themes were identified: how children talked about abuse of their mother, described their own actions, and related to or handled memories of violence. Most children confirmed that their mother had been the victim of abuse, but had difficulties describing these experiences. Narratives were often incoherent and difficult to fully understand. In contrast, most of the children seemed to find it easier to describe their own actions during violence and conflicts. Not thinking about IPV was a strategy that aimed at reducing unwanted memories; it is also a strategy that may obstruct creating a narrative. (Published Abstract)