Over the past few decades, there has been a growing awareness of the co-occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment.
Studies report that there are approximately between 750,000 and 2.3 million victims of domestic violence each year. Many of these victims are abused several times, so the number of domestic violence incidents is even greater.
According to a national study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 903,000 children were identified by child protective services (CPS) as victims of abuse or neglect in 2001.
Increasingly, service providers and researchers have recognised that some of these adult and child victims are from the same families. Research suggests that in an estimated 30% to 60% of the families where either domestic violence or child maltreatment is identified, it is likely that both forms of abuse exist.
Studies show that for victims who experience severe forms of domestic violence, their children also are in danger of suffering serious physical harm. In a national survey of over 6,000 American families, researchers found that 50% of men who frequently assaulted their wives also abused their children. Other studies demonstrate that perpetrators of domestic violence who were abused as children are more likely to physically harm their children.