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Reform Movement Calls for Recognition of Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Pelavin:"Domestic violence and sexual assault are not problems that will simply disappear from our homes and communities; they are evils that we must work every day to eradicate. Our children are depending on us to do so, and we pray that Congress will join with us to work towards this distant but urgent goal."

WASHINGTON, October 11, 2000- In support of an event sponsored by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women called "The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children: Youth Speak Out," Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, gave the following statement:

As the Senate prepares today to consider the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), we unite together to recognize Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We applaud the House of Representatives for its passage of VAWA last Friday, and pray that the Senate will take similar action in saving the lives of thousands across this country. Despite the hope we have concerning the passage of VAWA, we must not forget that there is much work still to be done.

Children across the United States suffer each and every day from the horrific impact of domestic violence, as both victims and observers. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly one in every three adult women - our selves, our mothers, our sisters and our friends - experiences at least one physical assault by a partner during her adult years. What does it mean for a child to witness the beating and humiliation of a mother - his protector, her provider? What are the effects on those children who are themselves victims of domestic violence? Studies show that children who witness or experience violence are at a high risk of anxiety and depression, and exhibit more aggressive, antisocial, inhibited and fearful behaviors. We also know that girls who witness their mothers' abuse disproportionately grow up to be victims of abuse themselves, and that boys who are exposed to violence too often become perpetrators of violence.

Domestic violence and sexual assault are not problems that will simply disappear from our homes and communities; they are evils that we must work every day to eradicate. Our children are depending on us to do so, and we pray that Congress will join with us to work towards this distant but urgent goal.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.





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