1. Callister, Lynn Clark PhD,RN

Article Content

Lemmey, D., Malecha, A., McFarlane, J., Willson, P., Watson, K., Gist, J. H., Fredland, N., & Schultz, P. (2001).Pediatric Nursing, 27(3), 265-270.


A conservative estimate of between 1.8 million and 6 million women are the victims of domestic violence in the United States, with an estimated 10 million children witnessing such abuse. In the important research of Lemmey et al., 83 abused mothers of children between the ages of 4 and 18 were interviewed, and also completed the Severity of Violence Against Women Scale (SVAWS) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Their children experienced significantly more behavioral problems that a normative sample of children. Girls ages 4 to 11 years demonstrated more behavioral problems than boys. Total behavioral scores for 35% of the boys and 45% of the girls were high enough to warrant referral to a healthcare professional. The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect strongly recommends the inclusion of routine screening for interpersonal violence of mothers and children during child health visits, including protocols which include a family safety plan. Because it has been documented in the literature that women of childbearing age are at highest risk for violence, maternal/child primary care settings are ideal places for identifying victims and provision of services for abused women and their children. This has important implications for nurses working in both acute care and community-based settings.


Online resources for more information include:


National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE;


Family Violence and Sexual Assault Institute:


National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:


Comment by Lynn Clark Callister