This Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Let’s Add an Essential Missing Piece to the Dialogue

Childhood Domestic Violence

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month kicks off today, there is still very little awareness of what UNICEF calls “the SINGLE BEST PREDICTOR” – Childhood Domestic Violence or CDV. This October, the Childhood Domestic Violence Association (CDVA) is calling on everyone involved in the conversation to add this essential missing piece to the dialogue. To pave the wave for curbing the insidious inter-generational nature of CDV – which impacts an estimated 15+ million children and an estimated 40+ million adult Americans who were impacted in childhood – the Association recently unveiled its brand new programs for both impacted individuals and for professionals who work with them regularly.


What is CDV? If a person grows up living with violence between their parents or violence towards a parent – perhaps from a stepparent or significant other – they experience Childhood Domestic Violence (CDV). The violence can be physical, non-physical, or both, and is NOT directed towards the child.

What happens to a life when one grows up living with CDV? According to 3+ decades of research, it has a profound and lasting impact on a life. It negatively wires a developing brain, encoding a series of negative beliefs that often last into adulthood. If unchallenged, these negative beliefs become entrenched and form the foundation of their cognitive belief system and self concept, often scarring or crippling some or all key areas of their life:  their physical health, mental health, behaviors, and/or relationships. They are 6x more likely to commit suicide, 50% more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol and 74% more likely to commit a violent crime. Particularly relevant for Domestic Violence Awareness Month is the fact that, according to UNICEF, growing up with domestic violence is “the single best predictor of children becoming either perpetrators or victims of domestic violence later in life.” It gets passed down across the generations, so we cannot hope to curb domestic violence unless we focus equally on the “single best predictor” that fuels it.

UNICEF calls growing up with it “one of the most pervasive human rights challenges of our time,” underscoring the urgency for raising awareness and developing effective intervention tools and programs. Yet, there is almost no awareness of CDV (<15%), and most who experience it don’t even know what to call it, because it has never before had a universal name as a major childhood adversity. In addition, no widely practiced solutions exist to help the 1 in 7 Americans impacted to overcome the crippling effects on their lives.

The Childhood Domestic Violence Association seeks to do just that. We work to 1) build universal awareness of CDV as a pervasive social issue that has a dire and lasting impact and 2) deploy groundbreaking scalable tools, with few barriers, to help as many impacted by CDV as possible. To that end, we have developed a compilation of evidence-based, groundbreaking tools that have never existed before, which can be scaled widely, to help foster positive outcomes. Created in collaboration with the world’s leading researchers and/or using the best-known practices over the past three decades, they’re each the first of their kind and some are packaged together in our CDV TOOLKIT, to directly help those impacted or train, prepare, and empower the hundreds of thousands of professionals who work with anyone impacted to achieve optimal interventions.


In 2018, the Childhood Domestic Violence Association completed and launched two brand new resources that are by far the most extensive and scalable resources we’ve ever created. Our hope is that we can share these resources with as many people as possible as quickly as possible, so we can transform as many lives as we can.


This brand new, 45-day online program – COURAGE UNLEASHED – is the first of its kind, specifically geared towards anyone who grew up with CDV and still struggles or just isn’t where they wish to be in life. It delivers the key concepts from INVINCIBLE, including the most salient psychology and neuroscience, via a powerful daily conditioning model over the course of 45 days. Its intent is to educate, build resiliency, empower users to overcome the impact of their traumatic past, and significant shift their paradigm for life – from their belief system, thinking, attitudes, to their habits, actions, behavior patterns and overall approach to life – essentially leading them to transform their life. This self-administered simple, confidential, online program was created to unlock a person’s full potential. A person logs into a private portal to view advisor videos and complete their 20-minute learning and journaling assignments each day. The user is immersed in content that will lead them to a new state of consciousness and self-awareness.


This recently developed program is an intensive 7-8 hour training, built by the founding father of stress management & resiliency theory. It’s geared specifically towards professionals, to educate and prepare them to effective intervene and foster optimal outcomes in impacted children. Using INVINCIBLE and CAL as the baseline, it introduces much more comprehensive strategies, techniques, and concrete steps professionals can apply to facilitate optimal outcomes overtime.

 “This month, if we truly want to address Domestic Violence, we must start by tackling its leading root cause –

CDV. Otherwise, it would be like trying to curb the incidence of lung cancer without ever mentioning smoking. CDV is an essential piece of the conversation and any strategy for making a significant dent in DV should begin with a discussion of CDV – its single best predictor,” said Brian Martin, Founder and CEO, the Childhood Domestic Violence Association. “Our new programs can be significant milestones in the quest to conquer CDV, which is inter-generational. Curbing CDV will pave the way for making a significant dent in DV in our lifetime.”  

In recognition of DV Awareness Month, to help raise critical awareness of its SINGLE BEST PREDICTOR, you can do 3 simple things today:

  • Ask at least 5 people you care for “Did you grow up living with domestic violence?”
  • Share this blog on your social media
  • Share our website – – with anyone impacted or anyone who cares about someone who did
  • If you grew up with it, take COURAGE UNLEASHED and change your life today!