As a member of the media, answer this: What do mass-shooters have in common? Mental illness, of course.

But, there’s a related culprit: early-childhood trauma. Most often, that trauma is the consequence of experiencing, witnessing, or losing a loved one to childhood domestic violence.

Childhood domestic violence (CDV) is pervasive in America but rarely discussed anywhere. CDV, according to the Childhood Domestic Violence Association ( and UNICEF, impacts more than 15-million American children in the United States and over 40 million adults, who experienced it as children. Now considered a global public-health crisis, CDV affects one-billion people, including 275-million children.

Many children grow up in homes 1) experiencing physical, verbal, or emotional brutality – from parents, stepparents, significant others of parents, relatives, and caregivers; 2) witnessing it between their parents or between their parents and other family members and friends; or 3) losing  friends or family members to it.

A child who merely witnesses CDV, a situation too often overlooked, is a secondary victim and often suffers in silence, as if experiencing the trauma directly. Such a child can be as likely in the future as a primary victim to turn to violence.

CDV victims are six times more likely to commit suicide, 50-percent more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, and 74-percent more likely to commit a violent crime. CDV is the single best predictor of whether children will become either perpetrators or willing victims of domestic violence later in life.

Denial, fear, and shame allow CDV to be passed on from one generation to another. As long as this is so, CDV will continue to affect generations of families.

The first step to healing is awareness. But, based on randomized surveys conducted annually by the Childhood Domestic Violence Association (, fewer than 15 percent of American adults are aware of CDV. Widespread education, therefore, will jumpstart the learning and healing processes.

When trying to understand a key source of angst and dysfunction in adults, especially violent adults, please write about and/or discuss CDV. We can help you. CONTACT US HERE