A Glimpse into Domestic Violence and Its Impact on Children in the Czech Republic

Nearly one-third of women in the Czech Republic are exposed to some form of domestic violence, and this affects a significant number of children as well. This was the revelation made during a press conference by Branislava Marvánová Vargová, the head of the ROSA counseling center. This situation has led to a considerable number of children growing up in an environment of domestic violence, many of whom also become direct victims.

According to Lenka Felcmanová from the SOFA organization, which focuses on helping at-risk children, it is possible to encounter a traumatized child in practically every school class. She referred to an older study stating that in a 25-member class, only nine children would not have potentially traumatic experiences.

These negative experiences can range from exposure to violence either as a victim or witness, neglect, child abuse, alcoholism or addictive substances in the family, or family breakdown. However, children who have encountered multiple negative phenomena particularly require therapeutic support. According to American studies, early assistance can significantly reduce the cost of their health care in adulthood.

Toxic stress affects the maturing brain, which develops until 25 years of age. “In school, we can observe several deficits in learning and behavior. Children who experience trauma are often labeled as children with challenging behavior. But this is a consequence of what they have experienced and the fact that they have not developed several skills, especially in the emotional area,” Felcmanová explained.

The SOFA organization has prepared a training program for teachers and social workers created in collaboration with partners in the USA and Norway. More than four-fifths of course graduates appreciate the benefits and increased competencies, according to foreign experience. “These children then stop perceiving it as a problem, but as children who need help, they need more positive attention because they did not have the opportunity to draw it in their family environment,” Felcmanová added.