Growing up scared

However, the standards and limits in Norwegian regulations on violence against children are not to be influenced by cultural practices. From psychological research we know that living with violence, or threats of violence, for a child means living in a condition of constant fear and insecurity. We also know how children protect their abusive parents. From research we have learned how difficult it is for a child to tell anyone about abuse and mistreatment to "betray" their parents.

In Norway, and also internationally, violence against children is a high-priority political issue.

Despite all the research in the field that has been published during the last 10-20 years, documenting the vast and often lifelong psychological effects of being exposed to domestic violence as a child, we still have significant challenges protecting these children, both practically and legally. One of the reasons for the lack of protection lies in the children not telling, the adult world not believing, or not wanting to know.

The writer is senior researcher, Norwegian Social Research, Oslo

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