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Domestic Violence and Welfare Policy: Research Findings That Can Inform Policies on Marriage and Child Well-Being.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Lawrence, S.
Technical Report
Page Count: 

This report highlights findings from the research about domestic violence, marriage, and child well-being that should be considered in welfare reform proposals that promote marriage and family stability. The analysis indicates that domestic violence is common among women receiving welfare and that abused women have a higher incidence for substance abuse, mental and physical health problems, and homelessness. In addition, domestic violence places children at risk for child abuse, behavior problems, developmental problems, and emotional difficulties. Although the research about the effect of low-conflict marriage on child well-being supports policies that promote marriage, the incidence of domestic violence among families receiving welfare requires policymakers to address the issue. Marriage promotion policies should facilitate early disclosure of spouse abuse, seek to prevent teen pregnancy, provide early intervention and skills training to young children from violent homes, and encourage coordination between child protective services and domestic violence agencies. Job training and education will make women less vulnerable to relationships with violent men and improve the marriageability of low-income men. Future research should examine the effects of domestic violence on children, the impact of domestic violence on parenting, and the effectiveness of violence prevention programs. 41 notes, 3 figures.

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