The topic of TBI and children goes beyond the scope of this collection. However, we acknowledge that exposure to domestic violence may result in trauma. In turn, trauma has a significant impact on the biochemistry of the brain particularly during developmental stages in childhood and adolescent years.
For more information about the impact of domestic violence on early brain development, see Developmental Effects of Exposure to Intimate Partner Violence in Early Childhood: A review of the literature by Georgia L. Carpenter and Ann M. Stacks from Volume 31, Issue 8 of the Children and Youth Services Review (August 2009). The article explains:
"Experiences in the first few years of life greatly influence brain development and the most influential ways a child's brain develops is through his or her relationships with caregivers. These experiences with caregivers and other aspects of the baby's environment, for example violence in the home, play an important role in social and emotional development and are imperative to investigate when working with infants and caregivers."
Children may also be victims of child abuse and suffer head trauma as a result. The most common form of head trauma suffered by children is known as Shaken Baby/Shaken Impact Syndrome or Abusive Head Trauma, caused by direct blows to the head, dropping or throwing a child, or shaking a child. Head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States (KidsHealth, 2009).
We have included below some resources that may be useful to the reader when exploring these issues:
The Childhood Violent Trauma Center combines direct clinical experience with advances in scientific and practical knowledge and translates this into the development of groundbreaking interventions for traumatized children and families.
The ChildTrauma Academy, a not-for-profit organization based in Houston, Texas is a unique collaborative of individuals and organizations working to improve the lives of high-risk children through direct service, research and education.
The Child Witness to Violence Project (CWVP) is a counseling, advocacy, and outreach project that focuses on the growing number of young children who are hidden victims of violence: children who are bystanders to community and domestic violence. It is run under the auspices of the Department of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.
The Institute for Safe Families (ISF) is a non-profit organization and a nationally acclaimed family violence prevention initiative under the auspices of Physicians for Social Responsibility since the early nineties. The mission of ISF is to prevent intimate and family violence and to promote the health and well being of each member of the family and the community in which they live. ISF also advocates for changes in systems and policies that affect families living with interpersonal violence.
Living Educational and Resources Network (LEARNet) is a project of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and includes a problem solving system to assist users in identifying useful procedures for helping students with brain injury at work and at school.
The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is the only worldwide organization that is dedicated solely to the prevention of this form of child abuse. The NCSBS focuses their efforts in two areas: professional training for those who work with SBS/AHT cases, and prevention education for parents and those who work to prevent child abuse.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network was established to improve access to care, treatment, and services for traumatized children and adolescents exposed to traumatic events.
ZERO TO THREE is a national nonprofit organization that informs, trains and supports professionals, policymakers and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers. Neuroscientists have documented that our earliest days, weeks and months of life are a period of unparalleled growth when trillions of brain cell connections are made. Research and clinical experience also demonstrate that health and development are directly influenced by the quality of care and experiences a child has with his parents and other adults. That is why at ZERO TO THREE our mission is to promote the health and development of infants and toddlers.