Family violence can affect children even before birth, royal commission told

Posted on July 25, 2015

Professor Louise Newman, director for women's mental health at Melbourne's Royal women's hospital, and Dr Robyn Miller, a social worker and family therapist, told the commission children could be affected by family violence even before they were born.

Women released hormones in response to the stress of being harmed, Newman said, which could permeate the placenta and affect the baby’s development in utero, with potentially severe consequences for the pregnancy.

"They are more likely to have preterm deliveries ... babies can have growth problems in their nervous system and brain, and also be small babies, so potentially vulnerable in terms of their ongoing development," Newman said.

It made identifying women in high-risk situations during pregnancy essential, she said. Maternal and child health nurses were skilled at being able to engage with complex and challenging families and provided an opportunity to intervene, the commission heard.

Category(s):Aggression & Violence, Domestic Violence, Family Problems

Source material from The Guardian

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