Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Melissa Lundquist


Social Work


Domestic violence affects all who are exposed: perpetrators, victims, and the children who witness the violence. It is important to understand how complex domestic violence is to effectively understand the systems that are affected by this crime. This systematic review studied previous research that examined the experiences of children who witness domestic violence and it’s impacts on their behaviors, adjustments, and development. This review was designed to explore the question: What is the impact of witnessing domestic violence on children? Analysis revealed three interrelated themes from these articles. These themes centered on the impacts of witnessing domestic violence on children and included: 1) Dysregulation in cognitive and emotional systems; 2) Impact on behavioral systems: internalizing behaviors and externalizing behaviors; 3) Multi-level perspectives. The findings show that children’s exposure to domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) is extremely prevalent and those children are considered at a higher risk for problems in holistic development. The findings also highlight the importance of identifying the effects of witnessing domestic violence and intimate partner violence. Moving forward, more research is required on therapeutic interventions for children witnesses.

Included in

Social Work Commons