this study reviewed the national and the international literature of domestic violence regarding maternal skills from 2007 to 2010.the following data base were used: bireme, web of science, lilacs and medline. out of the 85 abstracts, 28 were related to the topic of this paper (all international) and they were divided into four categories: (1) prevalence, (2) intervention, (3) the relationship between domestic violence and maternal skills and (4) the impact of marital violence on children. analysis of the studies showed that an expressive number of children witnessed violent conflicts between their parents, and that they were directly or indirectly affected by these conflicts. in studies which sought to evaluate the relationship between domestic violence and maternal skills the results showed the negative impact of exposure to marital violence and the importance of a positive mother-child relationship for the reduction of behavior problems in children, an important variable when considering the intervention with this population. it is noteworthy that all data were collected by self-report measures, therefore it is suggested that future research uses other types of data collection as different sources of information or systematic observational studies.