Exposure to domestic abuse has life-long effects [2016/02/17 10:31]

A brain scan study by a South Korean psychiatrist found specific changes in key circuits that process fear in the brains of Korean adults who were exposed to domestic violence as children. It claims that such experiences can have serious lifelong consequences on victims both emotionally and clinically.

The study raises concerns about South Korea’s current child protection legislation, as well as child welfare policies that do not specifically include childhood exposure to domestic violence in definitions of child maltreatment.

The psychiatrist, Choi Ji-wook from the Catholic University of Korea Daejeon St. Mary’s Hospital, claimed in her study that young adults who as children had frequently witnessed their caregiver being subjected to violence, and those who were repeatedly abused verbally in childhood, had weaker connections in two areas of the brain -- the hippocampus and the amygdala.

The two components of the brain perform functions in the processing of emotional reactions, fear and the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory.

Many overseas studies -- which have also discovered similar changes in key regions of the brains of adult child abuse survivors -- have suggested that such changes may leave them more vulnerable to a number of mental disorders as adults, including addiction and depression.

According to UNICEF, children who witness domestic violence are more likely to be affected by violence as adults -- either as victims or perpetrators. The organization also stressed that children in the earliest years of life are particularly vulnerable, as many studies show that domestic violence is more prevalent in homes with younger children than those with older children.

In a number of states in the U.S., a conviction for domestic violence committed in the presence of a child may result in harsher penalties, which usually mean longer jail terms or increased fines. In five states -- Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Utah -- exposing a child to domestic violence is a separate crime that can be charged separately or in addition to the act of violence.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (www.koreaherald.com)