Childhoods Within Domestic Environments Of Gender/ Sexual Violence: A Quantitative Impact Analysis


Shakti Shalini, a non-governmental organisation based out of New Delhi, published this report in 2022. The report identifies households with children where domestic violence is prevalent to understand types of violence (direct and indirect) and how it impacts them. The respondents to the study are adult survivors of violence who answered questions on the experiences of the oldest child experiencing abuse or witnessing it in their homes. A sample of 271 houses across five neighbourhoods in Delhi was chosen. Children who witness their caregiver being abused often suffer from psychological trauma, the report states.

This 20-page document is divided into eight sections: Introduction (Section 1); Terms in this study (Section 2); Children of adult survivors of violence: Why we should care (Section 3); The rapid survey: Why, Where, and How (Section 4); Major Findings (Section 5); Concluding discussion (Section 6); Recommendations & way forward (Section 7); References (Section 8).


  1. In violent and abusive situations, children watch, learn, and imitate the gendered behaviour of their same-sex caregivers. This can, therefore, lead to the behaviour of experiencing violence and/or engaging in it as an adult. Children who grow up in violent homes are, therefore, more likely to experience cycles of intergenerational violence.

  2. In 176 households, children sleep in the same room as adults. Children sleep in different rooms in 23 houses, while in 12 households, one room is split by a curtain. The report states that because of their limited space, the children are therefore at a higher risk of seeing violence – physical, verbal, emotional, and sexual.

  3. The report suggests that the methods used to discipline children tend to be unhealthy and might have a negative influence on their overall development. Results from both domestic and foreign research have also shown that physical punishment is a predictor of sadness, anxiety, melancholy, and hopelessness.

  4. The survey found that 89 per cent of kids are present when parents argue or get into fights. A long-term traumatic effect may result from youngsters indirectly experiencing violence through witnessing it and being exposed to violent situations.

  5. Most adult survivors of sexual violence said that the child's constant fear or sense of unease stems from the adult-to-adult conflict and tension at home. Another clear explanation that emerged from the data was that about 27 per cent of respondents stated that their child frequently feels terrified and unsafe because they are frequently beaten.

  6. The report states that survivors, caretakers and other adults in these houses abuse the children for a variety of reasons. One of the leading causes is economic marginalisation. Another reason of violence in these households is the adoption of unhealthy forms of child discipline. These children are most afraid of the male members of the household – as high as 49.3 per cent of the respondents state that the child is most scared of the father.

    Focus and Factoids by Manjari M.

    PARI Library's health archive project is part of an initiative supported by the Azim Premji University to develop a free-access repository of health-related reports relevant to rural India.


Shakti Shalini, New Delhi


Shakti Shalini, New Delhi