The Child Witness of Family Violence

  • Mindy S. Rosenberg
  • Ronita S. Giberson


Until recently, the treatment of children who witness their parents’ violence has not received separate attention from the mental health community. Far more has been written about children’s direct experience of abuse and neglect and the variety of intervention strategies to help maltreated children and their families. While child witnesses may experience psychological issues similar to those of child victims (e.g., parental extremes of emotions and behavior, posttraumatic stress disorder), there are important differences that need explication. In this chapter, we use the case of Marla and her family to highlight the significant psychological issues that emerge when children witness their parents’ violence. We begin by describing Marla’s family and the circumstances that brought her family to our attention. Next, we expand on the medical, legal, social, and family issues, and assessment of psychopathology that were revealed during evaluation. We conclude with a discussion of treatment options and summary comments.


Family Violence Battered Woman Traumatic Memory Sentence Completion Marital Violence 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mindy S. Rosenberg
    • 1
  • Ronita S. Giberson
    • 2
  1. 1.Private PracticeSausalitoUSA
  2. 2.Comprehensive Care CenterGraham B. Dimmick Child Guidance ServiceLexingtonUSA

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