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Celebrity domestic violence cases affect children - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Celebrity domestic violence cases affect children

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By Ian Silver  bio | email

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Experts say in bad economic times cases of domestic violence tend to rise. With several high-profile celebrity cases of domestic violence recently, some experts are worried children will begin glorifying such crimes.

"Well, I think the economy has had an impact on us seeing an increase in reports about child abuse," Dr. M. Elizabeth Ralston, Executive Director of the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center, said. "And because domestic violence is one form of child abuse, we've seen an increase in those numbers of reports."

A rising number of reports of domestic violence in a state already known to have one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country.

"Well, I think it's very prevalent," Dr. Ralston said. "We've heard some horrifying statistics in the past about domestic violence in our state, one of the leading states for domestic violence."

And with recent cases of celebrities like singer Chris Brown and football player Sean Merriman being accused of domestic violence, Dr. Ralston says kids are seeing domestic violence in a different light.

"Sometimes kids think it's okay when they experience it in their own families. When they experience it with celebrities they may see it as glamorous, they may see it as dramatic, they may see it as okay, and they may want to emulate that. And that's a significant, significant problem."

Dr. Ralston says celebrity cases can be confusing for kids.

"Just as with things kids see on tv, the kinds of violence they see on tv, the kind of sexual acting out they see on tv, causes some kids to think that that's an okay way to live. And, of course, it's not."

Ralston says the solution to celebrity influence begins with parents teaching their kids what's acceptable behavior, but also extends to the greater community.

"And we can begin within the media to not glamorize this and not dramatize it, and not give it so much coverage."

Dr. Ralston says domestic violenc between parents can be very traumatic for children, so she says it's important to allow children to seek counseling if they ahve witnessed domestic violence in their family.

©2009 WCSC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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