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Children exposed to domestic violence risk mental health, behaviourial issues

KUALA LUMPUR, Children exposed to domestic violence have a higher risk of mental health and behavioural issues such as anxiety, depression, learning problems, alcohol, and drug abuse, according to experts.

A psychiatrist at Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Dr Sapini Yakob said the children are more likely to become either perpetrators or victims of family and domestic violence in the future.

We need to break the cycle as the children who grow up in this environment (domestic violence) viewed this as normal behaviour.

It not only affects the victim but it also causes long term effects on children as they grow older as result of witnessing the abusive behaviour where one of their parents abuse the other parent, she said during her talk on the dynamic impacts on mental and physical health of victims at the 2019 Domestic Violence seminar (Seminar Keganasan Rumah Tangga 2019) here, today.

She said that the most common psychological effect experienced by female domestic violence victims were depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) and substance use.

The primary mental health response (by the victims) is depression, the prevalence of major depression is 63 per cent for women in general. It can go up to 70 per cent when related to domestic abuse cases.

The victims of domestic violence or the battered may be affected physically as they may have peculiar responses recorded by a psychiatrist during therapy as result of the abuse, she said.

The seminar was organised by the Social Institute of Malaysia, an agency under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, aimed to spread awareness and information to the public on domestic violence and the support system provided by the government.

About 300 participants from various government agencies, non-governmental organisations, and community leaders attended the one-day seminar.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

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