Being a parent is definitely not easy, and seeing a child through every stage of development is both a challenge and a cherished experience. By the time your son or daughter reaches the age of majority, you may feel as though you have adequately prepared him or her for virtually every obstacle in life, as that child embarks on an independent new path of college, and adult life.

Instilling a sense of self-worth and confidence is important for all parents; no one wants their child to be vulnerable or victimized. Unfortunately, the psychology of domestic violence is something that some young women will fall into, and it can be a cycle that becomes difficult to break, and agonizing for parents to witness. You have spent an entire lifetime protecting them; you aren’t about to stand by and watch someone who is supposed to love them do harm.

For millions of young male and female Americans, domestic violence is not on their television; it’s right in their home every day of their life. We will examine the statistics and risk factors for domestic violence. We will also provide some resources that parents can use for education and intervention; when your adult child has become a victim of systematic abuse.

What the Statistics Teach Us About Domestic Violence

The media portrayal of domestic violence paints an inaccurate picture. What is your vision of a woman who is the victim of domestic violence? Do you think of a woman aged 45 and up? Someone with children, who may be unemployed or supported by a spouse? What is the visual you get when you think of the women who are most likely to be victimized at home?

The truth is that many women who are victims of domestic violence may not even be married. They may or may not have children; but the statistics reveal that women between the ages of 18 and 24 years are at the highest risk of violence in the home.

Rather than the stereotypical wife who has been married for a long time; the average victim of domestic violence is actually in college, residing with a partner when the abuse starts. Colorado Springs domestic violence attorneys reveal that it is often not the crime of a frustrated long-term relationship. It is usually the act of intimidation and physical and psychological control that is inflicted on young women (and men).

Here are some other statistics about domestic violence that may surprise you, from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV):

  • Twenty people per minute are physically abused by a relationship partner in the United States. Annually, that number averages at 20 million people per year.
  • One in every three women have been the victim of one or multiple forms of domestic violence. Severe physical violence (including rape and aggravated assault) is experienced by one in every five American women annually.
  • One in every seven American men have been the victim of severe physical violence by male or female intimate partners.
  • National domestic violence helplines receive 20,000 calls from men and women in crises daily. This is the national average per day to domestic violence free telephone support services.
  • Roughly 19 percent of incidents of domestic violence involve a weapon. Statistics reveal that owning or possessing a handgun within the home increases the risk of a domestic assault escalating to a homicide by 500 percent.
  • Women residing in households where the annual income is less than $50,000 per year have a 9.7 percent higher rate of domestic violence than women who live in households where average earnings are $75,000 per annum or more. Women in the highest income households had a prevalence of 2.8 percent domestic violence.

The crime is often referred to as ‘silent’ because few victims of domestic abuse ever seek medical treatment, advice, or shelter from their abuser. The deeply ingrained psychological torment that is almost invariably part of domestic violence means that the victim fears retaliation from their partner for reporting the crime. In many cases, the affection that is felt for the abuser prevents victims from reporting the crime, out of concern for the well-being of the assailant. Regular physical violence is easier to tolerate than sending a loved one to prison.

What Can Parents Do?

Start the dialogue early about domestic violence. While children shouldn’t be exposed to mature content; teens over the age of sixteen should receive education about the nature of domestic violence and how to prevent it. Start a conversation that helps children create healthy boundaries in all intimate relationships; including emotional responsibility, expectations, and boundaries that need to be established with partners.

It is important for teens to understand the deep-rooted guilt and predatory psychology of abusive partners; as well as the homicide statistics for relationships that involve long-term domestic violence.

Parents looking for a place to start should download the “National Data on Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence, and Stalking” publication by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With this helpful guide, hopefully more individuals will not find themselves in abusive domestic situations in the future.