The majority of domestic violence goes unreported. Only one in four cases of domestic violence will be reported. According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, parents or caregivers were physically injured in more than one out of three cases in which children witnessed domestic violence, but less than 2% of the cases resulted in jail time for the perpetrator.
This study included 517 children who had witnessed domestic violence in some form in their household. Three out of four children saw the domestic violence, 21% heard it and 3% saw the injuries later. Incidents of domestic violence was spread relatively equally throughout socio-economic lines. The children were from families of various ethnicities, 53% white, 20% African American, 16% Latino and 11% other races. Three out of four perpetrators were male.
The study found that children who witness domestic violence are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, nightmares, teen dating violence and disruptions with school work. According to the study, these effects are similar to when the children are the victims of the abuse themselves.