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Effective and Realistic Strategies in Working with Families with Domestic Violence Intervening/Engaging Batterers for Effective Safety Planning Gina Vice-Hlavacek,

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Presentation on theme: "Effective and Realistic Strategies in Working with Families with Domestic Violence Intervening/Engaging Batterers for Effective Safety Planning Gina Vice-Hlavacek,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Effective and Realistic Strategies in Working with Families with Domestic Violence Intervening/Engaging Batterers for Effective Safety Planning Gina Vice-Hlavacek, Psy.D. Domestic Violence Consultant/Trainer NB DCF

2 Goals of Presentation As a result of this training, attorneys, judges, court support staff, and workers will be able to: As a result of this training, attorneys, judges, court support staff, and workers will be able to: –Identify the batterers pattern of coercive control in the family. –Identify effective and realistic interventions (including identifying specific steps) to address batterers pattern of coercive control and support the non-offending parents safety planning.

3 How many individuals have you represented or worked with that have been affected by DV? How many individuals have you represented or worked with that have been affected by DV? –Can you describe the patterns that you noticed in the family? –Describe your interactions with the batterer? What is typically asked of the batterer in terms of interventions/specific steps? What is typically asked of the batterer in terms of interventions/specific steps? How is the batterers control present in juvenile court proceedings? How is the batterers control present in juvenile court proceedings?

4 Why is it important to assess Domestic Violence? 50% of men who frequently batter their partners also frequently abuse their children. (Straus & Gelles, 1996) 50% of men who frequently batter their partners also frequently abuse their children. (Straus & Gelles, 1996) Although many parents believe they can hide the domestic violence from their children, children living in these homes report differently. Between 80% and 90% of these children are aware of the violence. ( Carlson, 1984) Although many parents believe they can hide the domestic violence from their children, children living in these homes report differently. Between 80% and 90% of these children are aware of the violence. ( Carlson, 1984) Children of abused mothers are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide, 50% more likely to use drugs and/or alcohol, and are at higher risk for running away. (Senate Hearing, 1990; Walker, 1984) Children of abused mothers are 6 times more likely to attempt suicide, 50% more likely to use drugs and/or alcohol, and are at higher risk for running away. (Senate Hearing, 1990; Walker, 1984) Children raised in violent homes are 74% more likely to commit assault. (Senate Hearing 1990; Sedgwick, 1992) Children raised in violent homes are 74% more likely to commit assault. (Senate Hearing 1990; Sedgwick, 1992)

5 What is Domestic Violence?

6 Defining the Domestic Violence A pattern of coercive control perpetrated by one person against another in an intimate relationship.

7 Pattern of Coercive Control involves: Obvious Obvious –Physical assault –Threats to bodily harm –Kidnapping –Stalking –Sexual assault

8 Pattern of Coercive Control involves: Subtle: Subtle: –Name calling –Threatening to use the court and DCF to take away children –Threats to leave the relationship and stop finances –Outing someone to their relatives –Telling lies –Throwing out birth control pills –Controlling finances –Infidelity –Keeping weapons in the house –Hiding passports –Interfering with ones ability to call upon supports, via telephone and car (smashing the cell phone, taking keys away, etc) –Posturing when angry –Disapproving of non-offending parents supports, thus making it less likely she/he will utilize them.

9 Safety Planning Strategies and How the Batterer can Interfere Temporary Restraining Orders and Protective Orders Temporary Restraining Orders and Protective Orders Cell Phones Cell Phones Identify safe hiding places (DV or homeless shelter) Identify safe hiding places (DV or homeless shelter) Call 911 Call 911 Remove child from abusive environment; Bring child to alternate, safe, location (i.e.: friend, relative, different room within home) Remove child from abusive environment; Bring child to alternate, safe, location (i.e.: friend, relative, different room within home) Notify school officials, teachers, etc. of batterers potential violence; safety plan; emergency contact, heighten awareness to and possible change in childs behavior Notify school officials, teachers, etc. of batterers potential violence; safety plan; emergency contact, heighten awareness to and possible change in childs behavior Sleep in same room with children Sleep in same room with children Talk to children about how to respond to violence, i.e.: stay away from abusive/violent environment; respond to code word; go to identified neighbors house, hiding place etc. Talk to children about how to respond to violence, i.e.: stay away from abusive/violent environment; respond to code word; go to identified neighbors house, hiding place etc. Move out of home with/without children Move out of home with/without children

10 Safety Planning Strategies and How the Batterer can Interfere Sleep in car/street Sleep in car/street Identify person to assist with visitation to reduce potential for violence during transfer of children Identify person to assist with visitation to reduce potential for violence during transfer of children Keep children out of school/change schools Keep children out of school/change schools Make sure they attend school Make sure they attend school Normalize as much as possible by providing a safe structure Normalize as much as possible by providing a safe structure Meeting basic needs (feeding, bathing, spending quality time) Meeting basic needs (feeding, bathing, spending quality time) Keeping up to date medically Keeping up to date medically Maintaining a routine to avoid exposure to possible violence Maintaining a routine to avoid exposure to possible violence Engaging children with outside activities and relationships (formal and informal) Engaging children with outside activities and relationships (formal and informal) Attending school functions such as parent-teacher conferences, fairs, etc. Attending school functions such as parent-teacher conferences, fairs, etc.

11 Scenario Fiza and Muhammad are a traditional Pakistani couple who were married through an arrangement and have been together for 8 years. They have 2 children, male age 4 and female age 6. An incident occurred that began with Muhammad looking through Fizas cell phone to check her call log. An argument began and Muhammad followed Fiza throughout the house. He hit her in the head as the children were present. She ran into the bathroom and he ran after her. He had a cake knife in his hand and stabbed her on the right side of her head and palms as she was trying to protect her body. She eventually fell into the bathtub. Fiza ran out of the home with her children. Muhammad followed her and grabbed their son and stated, if you call the police, I will kill your son. She left the home with her daughter and proceeded to take the child to school. She realized she had blood coming from her head and turned around to go to her parents home. When she arrived, she noticed what seemed to be Muhammads car in the driveway. She proceeded to drive around the block, park, and waited for 45 minutes. When she arrived to her parents home, her brother encouraged her to go to the hospital and police station to make a report.

12 How do you engage and intervene with the Batterer? Common Problems: Common Problems: –Allowing the batterers behavior to be invisible. Focusing on treatment for the survivor. Focusing on treatment for the survivor. Focusing on the survivor leaving the batterer. Focusing on the survivor leaving the batterer. They may be a boyfriend, not the biological father. They may be a boyfriend, not the biological father. Batterers do not make themselves available for interviewing, treatment, and/or other community agencies. Batterers do not make themselves available for interviewing, treatment, and/or other community agencies. Our own bias Our own bias –Mothers are often seen as the primary caretakers, thus the responsibility for providing safety rests with her.

13 How to intervene with the Batterer: Aspects to consider Cultural differences Cultural differences Status Status Financial status Financial status Social Supports Social Supports Human vulnerabilities (e.g., love for their children) Human vulnerabilities (e.g., love for their children) Personality resiliency Personality resiliency

14 How to intervene with the Batterer: Strategies What behaviors are maladaptive to the family functioning? What behaviors are maladaptive to the family functioning? –Identifying these to the batterer can assist in identifying what he/she needs to change in order for the family to be safe and remain together. –Appropriate programs can also be identified to assist in making these changes. –Goals of treatment programs, such as the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DOVE, EXPLORE, and NOVA), can be used to develop specific steps for the batterer.

15 Treatment Options for Batterers Areas of Concern: – –Anger management – not useful for domestic violence. – –Couples counseling – not useful for domestic violence Under certain conditions couples counseling can be used by a counselor well-trained in power and control issues to focus on the abusers responsibility and not interactive issues like communication and intimacy. Cannot be used if the survivor is significantly afraid of their partner. – –Individual counseling – not useful for domestic violence.

16 Treatment Options Group therapy – –Most effective treatment, intensive, 26 weeks. – –Deals primarily with cultural issues, internal and external consequences, and personal contradictions. Especially useful in accountability and responsibility in the abuser. – –Community Coordinated Response – necessary for effective treatment and survivors safety.

17 How to intervene with the Batterer: Strategies Set specific/concrete goals/steps/expectations. Set specific/concrete goals/steps/expectations. –Will support a relationship between mother and children by the following: Will provide transportation to and from visitation with mother. Will provide transportation to and from visitation with mother. Will return the family vehicle to mother so that she can continue to take children to and from activities, medical appointments, etc. Will return the family vehicle to mother so that she can continue to take children to and from activities, medical appointments, etc. Will support mothers parenting by not speaking negatively about mother in front of the children. Will support mothers parenting by not speaking negatively about mother in front of the children. Will support mothers parenting by supporting her limit setting (not overriding these limits). Will support mothers parenting by supporting her limit setting (not overriding these limits). –Will cease all further physical violence towards any/all members of the household (includes pets). –Will cease all further intimidating behavior towards any member of household. This includes verbal threats, destruction of property, throwing objects, punching walls, invasion of privacy.

18 Specific steps/expectations continued: Specific steps/expectations continued: –Will identify the impact of his/her pattern of coercive control and take responsibility for its impact on the family. Responsibility for DCF involvement and legal involvement and the ongoing intrusion in the family as a result. Responsibility for DCF involvement and legal involvement and the ongoing intrusion in the family as a result. –Will participate in positive parenting of the children. If needed, will participate in a parenting program (if he is not living in the home and continues to have contact with the children). If needed, will participate in a parenting program (if he is not living in the home and continues to have contact with the children). Will maintain contact with school, attend school meetings when necessary, etc. Will maintain contact with school, attend school meetings when necessary, etc. –Will discuss this impact both in treatment as well as with others, taking responsibility for these behaviors and acknowledging the destructive impact of them in the home. –Will cooperate with DCF and providers. As such, will sign necessary and requested releases of information. As such, will sign necessary and requested releases of information.

19 How to intervene: Survivors Safety Planning It is important to note: It is important to note: –Survivors actively assess risk, and their strategies to reduce risk and harm to their family may appear disorganized and unpredictable. –Survivors safety planning is always subject to change dependent on the batterers behavior and the changing circumstances these behaviors create.

20 Intervening with the survivor: Once the situation has been assessed and the batterer has been held responsible, the survivor should be assessed in terms of his/her needs. Once the situation has been assessed and the batterer has been held responsible, the survivor should be assessed in terms of his/her needs. –Based on symptoms, a survivor may be sent to mental health counseling, trauma group, to address PTSD, depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. –Based on limited supports, lack of safety planning, and the level of risk the batterer may pose, the survivor may benefit from services at a domestic violence shelter. –However, the goals of treatment need to be made explicit, otherwise, supporting her existing safety plan and holding the batterer accountable may address the level of risk in the family. –Couples counseling is contraindicated until the batterer is able to take responsibility for his/her behaviors and the impact of them on the family.

21 Engaging and intervening with the batterer supports the non-offending parents safety plan and validates their experience. Engaging and intervening with the batterer supports the non-offending parents safety plan and validates their experience. (Grijalba-Rodriguez & Vice-Hlavacek, 2007)


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