While Tanya Dennis's passionate speech left many delegates feeling slightly shell-shocked, the warm, calm and concise approach of the next speaker meant we initially thought we were in for an "easier "ride.

But the measured exterior of Anne Morgan, Nurse Consultant for vulnerable children in the London borough of Newham, simply added gravitas to some shocking facts.

Two women a week are murdered in the UK as a direct result of DV abuse by their partners.

Health professionals, she warned, should be especially vigilant when dealing with a client who admits to being a victim of sexual abuse, as a third of these women's children will be suffering the same abuse. A sexually abused child, she said, can sometimes present as being developmentally delayed.

The signs of serious psychological damage are often starkly clear; with girls especially prone to depression, whereas boys turn to unsocial behaviours and get tagged "young offenders". Art and drama are often useful ways for children to express what's happening to them, although unfortunately the resources available are few and far between.

One of the hardest hitting facts for me, though, was the fact that studies have proven that three years after suffering ongoing DV, children displayed stress levels even higher than those of a returning Vietnam War veteran. If you've seen Tom Cruise in Oliver Stone's movie Born on the Fourth of July, you'll find this detail chilling. In the film, Cruise plays real life Vietnam Vet Ron Kovic, whose troubled and stressful readjustment to civilian life as a paraplegic manifests itself in displays of obvious distress and overwhelmingly violent aggression. He slowly and painfully manages to channel this rage and turn it into a positive; becoming an active peace protester.

What's especially disturbing, though, when considering that most young victims of DV bottle their emotions up, is the haunting question still remains. Where does all that fear, confusion, anger and upset the children feel go?


Written by Penny Hosie   Comment on this blog by sending it to: penny.hosie@pavpub.com