There is no causal relationship between having suffered gender-based violence in childhood and future violence

The idea that children who have been victims of violence and have been exposed to it in their homes will be violent, has become a common belief of many education professionals, and this statement revictimizes these children and increases their suffering trajectories. 

It is not true that scientific evidence has found a consistent link with the perpetuation of violence.

Some scientific evidence in this regard:

Widom, C. S. (1989). The cycle of violence. Science244(4901), 160-166. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/244/4901/160/tab-pdf

This is about the link between child victimization and subsequent antisocial and violent behavior  that is far from certain, and the intergenerational transmission of violence is not inevitable

Margolin, G., & Gordis, E. B. (2000). The effects of family and community violence on children. Annual review of psychology51(1), 445-479. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.445?journalCode=psych#_i6

Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S. (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature. Child abuse & neglect32(8), 797-810. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0145213408001348

Even the studies that did find some correlation in the 1990s do not provide any causal relationship, what they say is that it could be considered a logical theoretical link between the experience of physical abuse in early life and the later development of aggressive behaviour; they do not claim that it exists, but that this is the approach of some theorists.

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Luis Miralles

This is so important for schools, educators and families, because it allows for more optimistic and transformative approaches and interventions. Thank you!

Michael Flood

This account is out of date and inaccurate. A series of reviews have found that childhood exposure to domestic and family violence increases the likelihood of adult perpetration of violence, particularly for boys. See here for recent reviews and meta-analyses: https://xyonline.net/books/bibliography/27-violence-and-responses-violence/c-examinations-particular-factors-or-Childhoodexposure

Ana Vidu

Thanks for your message and your bibliography. We cannot see in the scientific literature evidence of a causal relationship between “Childhood exposure to violence and likelihood of adult perpetration of violence, particularly for boys”; please, if you have found this kind of evidence in some of the article you sent in your message, I would kindly like to ask you to point out which is this evidence and in which articles can be found. I have found correlations, but not causal relationships. I have also found statements about causal relations, but without support of scientific evidence. I was a victim of gender violence and I could transform myself into a survivor thanks to the help of men and women, some of whom had been exposed to violence when they were children. Children with exposure to violence are victims; projecting into them the suspicion that they will become perpetrators is revictimization. Besides, this projection also creates difficulties for the solidarity we need from them to transform ourselves from victims to survivors.

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