Violent behavior against women and it’s effects on the academic performance of their children in selected primary schools in Kiambu County, Kenya
Kamau, Eunice Wanjiru
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The study investigated the effect of violent behavior against women on their children’s academic performance in primary schools in Kiambu County, Kenya. The possible causes and forms of violent behavior were contributed to drug abuse, others to economic disparities, power struggles within the family and discriminatory cultural norms. Forms of domestic violence identified were cases of physical, psychological, sexual and economic. The effects of exposure to domestic violence included chronic school failure, attainment of below average grades, poor grade retention, absenteeism and school dropouts. The coping mechanisms identified included non-disclosure, seeking help from friends and avoidance. Majority of the schools were found to lack guidance and counseling program to cater for children exposed to domestic violence and even in the schools where there were guidance and counseling program, they lacked capacity to cater for the children from the affected homes. The interventions identified at the school level included creation of good environment where the pupils felt free to express their experiences without feeling intimidated, creation of adequate communication flows, training of teachers on special education for proper handling of learners and sensitization of parents on the adverse effects on domestic violence on the welfare of the children as well as special training for law enforcement officers on handling domestic violence. At the policy level, children rights and welfare officers visited the affected homes in the company of law enforcement officers and sought the best ways of rescuing and assisting children and the affected women. However, inadequacies in the legal framework were cited in that the officers were not empowered to carry out investigations or prosecute cases of domestic violence but had to rely on the law enforcement agents such as the police who at times did not understand the impact of domestic violence on the children’s welfare. Based on the findings, the study recommended that elaborate ways of protecting, identify, screening and assisting children from homes affected by domestic violence should be put in place both at school and community level. More research needs to be devoted to other adverse effects of domestic violence on children such as emotional, mental, psychological and physical effects of domestic violence on children as well as the direct victims.