The prevalence and impact of children’s exposure to domestic violence (DV) in Jamaica.

Christine Fray, Karyl Powell-Booth, Kenisha Nelson, Roxanne Harvey, Patrice Reid, Nadia Wager, Dominic Willmott, Samantha Mason, Adele Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to explore the prevalence of children’s exposure to adult perpetrated domestic violence (DV), and to investigate the contextual factors of the affected families and the well-being of exposed children. The study was a large cross-sectional survey of 7,182 children aged 9 to 17 years (mean 13.8 years), drawn from 20 primary and secondary schools in Jamaica. The sample consisted of 60.8% girls, with 31% residing in urban areas and 69% living in rural communities. The survey was completed in the classroom setting. Three questions asked about the respondents’ life-time experience of witnessing adult-perpetrated DV. The types of violence addressed included were; shouting and screaming that served to frighten the children, physical violence (e.g. hitting, slapping) and serious violent threat (e.g. the use of weapons to threaten or harm). The findings revealed that 41.6% of the children had been exposed to at least one type of DV: 22.5% had experienced one form, 11.8% had experienced two and 7.3% had experienced three forms. There was statistically significant difference in the children’s sense of safety in their home depending on whether they had been exposed to DV, and the more forms of DV experienced, the lower their sense of safety. Of those not exposed, 85.8% reported always feeling safe at home, compared with 37.2% of those exposed to three forms of DV. The circumstances associated with exposure to DV and the association between exposure and well-being are also investigated. The limitations study and implications of the findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCaribbean Journal of Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


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