Violence against children is a crime that must be prevented. It is something that cuts across elements like culture, race and ethnicity. It does not necessarily come from external sources or influences from cultures. It may come from emotional instabilities and broken marriages as well as the child's insecurities and communal disruptions. Furthermore, violence on children inevitably leaves indelible scars on their psyche.
In a society that has major stratification and emotional insecurity embedded into its very cultural fabric, it goes without saying that irregularities within the domestic sphere will be a given. As a society that has been in conflict since the 1920s, Northern Ireland almost has a legacy of violence attached to every walk of its life. In this case, domestic violence against children is a major irregularity that needs to be tackled. Therefore, it was imperative to choose this a subject of study to find out what is being done, can be done and is not being done. In this regard, it is imperative to trace the literature that supports the study of this subject.
To begin with, I have used sources like the UN and other agencies like Women's aid and the RUC reports to find the gaps in the existing policies and strategies aimed at these children. While the reports are comprehensive, they still need to link the actual scenario with the recommendations for the future in realistic terms. I have also used sources like books by several authors. But the fact is that the various documents on the subject contain material that is dated and it needs to be more topical. These documents include Barnardo's Northern Ireland as well as
Calder,M Harold, G & Howarth, E. (2005) Children Living With Domestic Violence. Another relevant piece of literature is 'Every Child Matters' by the Change for Children in Social Care. Also, there are interesting recommendations by M George in the work titled Children Domestic Violence; Violent Reaction Community Care.
Further, the work by M Hester, N Harwin and C Pearson, titled Making an Impact is a significant piece of work in terms of its findings and analysis.
A Strategy for Children In Need Deveopling the Strategy is a Consultation Document, by the DH&SS which is also important to this line of study. Further the document titled
Co-Operating to Safeguard Children, presents recommendations that are crucial for training and development in this field.
This choice of literarture gives an insight into the historical, social as well as psychological perspectives of the plight of children who face domestic violence - in Northern Ireland and beyond.
The following are the findings by Women's Aid:
29% of murders in Northern Ireland involved domestic situations (PSNI) Statistics).
A national survey in the Republic of Ireland found that 59% of women surveyed know a woman whose partner used violence against her.)
In 90% of cases of domestic violence children are in the same room or the next room.
66% of residents in emergency refuges are children.
In 40% - 60% of cases of domestic violence child abuse is also occurring
The NCH study found 75% of mothers said their children had witnessed domestic violence, 33% had seen their mothers beaten