*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
A new study has found up to half of all children with language difficulties and mental and physical health problems have been exposed to intimate partner violence, prompting calls for health and social care services to provide more effective identification and early intervention.
The research, led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, showed children exposed to intimate partner violence from infancy were twice as likely to have a psychiatric diagnosis, emotional and behavioral difficulties, and impaired language skills at age 10. They were also more likely to have asthma and sleep problems.
The study also found that children exposed to intimate partner violence in the year they turned 10 were two to three times more likely to experience poor mental health, elevated blood pressure, and sleep difficulties. But with the exception of language difficulties and asthma, child health outcomes at age 10 were not affected if their only exposure to intimate partner violence occurred before they turned five.
The research involved 1507 first-time mothers and their first-born children. Women were recruited to the study from six public maternity hospitals in Melbourne. More than one in four women and children in the study were exposed to intimate partner violence during the first 10 years after the child’s birth.