Moreover, it is estimated that about 20% of the preschool children are themselves been victims of domestic violence and about 61% happened to have witnessed violence in their society (Vyuong et al. 1993, p.1).
The stories of domestic violence of children are sometimes shockingly harsh. According to National Research Council, 1993, in Africa, home violence is the leading cause of the death of children. Not only does the violence at home make children suffer the trauma but it also negatively creates an environment where these children feel the effects of the trauma continually (p.1). The well being of these children is negatively affected and they tend to develop such physical, emotional and behavioral traits that may distinguish them from the children not exposed to domestic violence. The following incidents quoted on NSPCC web site from different sources can be of good insight into the how drastic the problem of domestic violence can turn to be:
Every ten days in England and Wales one child is killed at the hands of their parent. In half (52%) of all cases of children killed at the hands of another person, the parent is the principal suspect. (Journalist Briefing, December 2008)
On average, every week in England and Wales one to two children are killed at the hands of another person.(Home Office, 2007, Homicides, Firearms Offences and Intimate Violence 2005/2006: Supplementary Volume 1 to Crime in England and Wales 2005/2006.)
Each week at least one child dies from cruelty.
On average, 67 children in England and Wales are killed at the hands of another person every year. In 2005/2006, 55 children were killed at the hands of another person in England and Wales.
All of these incidents have taken place because a child with a domestic violence problem was known to professionals. They neglected or failed to identify the extent of the problems (NSPCC 2008).
In order to understand the impact of Domestic violence on preschool children, it is important to define the term 'domestic violence'. There are number of issues that need to be considered in defining domestic violence. First of all, the exposure of children may be defined narrowly as only physical violence or also by including the verbal and emotional abuse children suffer at homes. Secondly, even within the narrower physical consideration of domestic violence, the incidents of only harsh physical beatings may be considered as well the routine slaps and acts of shoves (Edleson et al. 2007, p.6). In addiction to the definition of domestic violence it is also important to define the term 'exposure' in order to develop the boundaries for the study we are undertaking. Like domestic violence the term exposure may also be narrowly defined as the being within the sound and sight of violence or may be defined broadly considering several other factors, for example, hitting or threatening a child, taking him hostage in order to force mother to return home, forcing a child to witness assault against mother or to participate in the act of abuse, or using the child as spy through interrogation about the mother (p.7).
Domestic violence occur in situations where there is some close relationship between two