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Children and Domestic Violence The Long Lasting Impact of a Batterer’s Pattern of Coercive Control.

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Presentation on theme: "Children and Domestic Violence The Long Lasting Impact of a Batterer’s Pattern of Coercive Control."— Presentation transcript:

1 Children and Domestic Violence The Long Lasting Impact of a Batterer’s Pattern of Coercive Control

2 Goals of this Presentation: 1.Improve assessment for presence of patterns of coercive control and impact on children. Develop strategies to engage batterer and support non-offending parent’s safety planning. (traditional vs. non- traditional safety planning)Develop strategies to engage batterer and support non-offending parent’s safety planning. (traditional vs. non- traditional safety planning) Learn ways to identify family strengths and promote resiliency.Learn ways to identify family strengths and promote resiliency.

3  As a provider, how many families have you worked with that have been affected by DV? –Can you describe the patterns that you noticed in the family? –How many of you have had direct contact with the batterer?  Can you describe that experience?

4 What is Domestic Violence ?

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

6 Obvious Physical assault Threats to bodily harm Kidnapping Stalking Sexual assault Subtle Name calling Threatening to use the court and DCF to take away children *Outing someone to their relatives Telling lies Throwing out birth control pills Controlling finances Cheating Keeping weapons in the house Hiding passports Controlling access to phone and car Restricted mobility

7 Children See, Children Do

8 What are the implications of the batterer’s pattern of coercive control on children for treatment?  Children living with DV are at risk for increased or emotional and behavioral problems.  Children may be identified with “Serious Emotional Disorders” and placed in special education classrooms.  Early identification of difficulties can lead to earlier and more effective support and intervention for children and their families.

9 Children Exposed to Coercive Control/Violence:  Watching, hearing or later learning about a parent being abused (by a partner) threatens children’s sense of stability and security typically provided by their family.  Children learn that violence in the home is how to deal with conflict.  Impacts gender roles:  Being a man means you can use violence against a woman.  Being a woman means being a victim.

10 Themes There’s no safe place Ambivalent feelings toward the abusive parent and non-offending parent Adults cannot protect themselves or their children Takes on the responsibility of protecting the victim Chronic fear leads to aggression

11 Risks Posed to Children By Exposure to Batterers’ Pattern of Coercive Control 1.Exposure to threats and/or acts of violence. 2.Undermining mother-child relationships.  Talking negatively to the children about the abused parent’s behavior. 3.Physical and/or sexual abuse by batterer. 4.Batterer as a role model. 5.Rigid or authoritarian parenting.

12 6.Neglectful or irresponsible parenting.  Not being willing to have children involved in treatment; interfering with treatment. 7.Psychological abuse and manipulation.  Children’s bad behavior being used as the reason for the assault of the non-offending parent. 8.Using children as a weapon.  Holding the children hostage in an effort to punish the victim. 9.Exposure to violence in their Father’s new relationships. Risks Posed to Children By Exposure to Batterers’ Pattern of Coercive Control

13 Impact of Batterer’s Pattern of Coercive Control at Different Developmental Stages

14 Infants and Toddlers DevelopmentImpact Implications for Treatment  Take in information from world around them.  Form secure attachments.  Active explorers of their world and learn through play.  Learn about social interaction and relationships.  Loud noises and vivid images can be distressing.  Inconsistency responding to infants needs, effecting the parent-child bond.  Fear and instability may inhibit exploration and play.  Learn about aggression by observing others. Prevention programs:  Parent Aid Programs  Birth to Three  Head Start  Parenting Classes  Fatherhood initiatives  Child Development education.  Treatment plans that involve both parents with equal involvement in responsible parenting.

15 School Age Children DevelopmentImpact Implications for Treatment  Increased emotional awareness of self and others.  Complexity in thinking about right and wrong.  Academic and social success has an impact on self-concept.  Increase in same sex identification.  Awareness of own reactions to violence at home and impact on others.  Susceptible to adopting rationalizations heard to justify violence.  Inhibits ability to learn. Intervention programs:  Family therapy  Mentoring programs  Behavioral Mod Techniques  Peer socialization  Play therapy  Treatment plans that involve both parents with equal involvement in responsible parenting.

16 Adolescence DevelopmentImpact Implications for Treatment  Increased autonomy  Puberty (physical changes)  Increased capacity for abstract reasoning and broader world view  Increased peer group influence and desire to be accepted.  Relationship skills  Becoming parentified.  physical intervene to stop the violence  Embarrassed by the family resulting in shame, secrecy, and insecurity.  Unable to establish peer groups.  Poor boundaries.  Inappropriate decision-making (emotionally based) Intervention programs:  Mentoring programs  Behavioral Mod. Techniques  DBT  Skills groups (multi family)  Assertive communication skills  Each individual in their own treatment

17 Coping Strategies  Maladaptive: –Dissociation –Affect Dysregulation –Isolation –Withdrawal –Disorganization –Lack of concentration –Substance Use –Violent Behavior –Bullying –Overachievement –Excessive Caretaking of Others –Exploitation –sexually inappropriate behavior –self-destructive behavior  Adaptive: –Reworking of trauma through play –Meaningful connections with others that offer corrective experiences –Being able to feel emotions and still be OK –Journaling feelings and thoughts –Sublimation of emotions through activities (sports, extracurricular activities) –Assertive communication –Use of a sense of humor –Goal directed behavior –Use of peer and community supports

18 *Impact of Trauma on Caregiver-Child Relationship When the caregiver has also experienced interpersonal trauma: The caregiver’s ability to establish and maintain an empathic relationship with the child may be impaired The caregiver may have a decreased capacity to recognize danger or stress The child may take the role of caregiver   Either partner may develop new negative attributions based on trauma experience – –Changes to internal working models – –Traumatic expectations   Caregiver and child may serve as traumatic reminders for one another *Maxine Weinreb, Ed.D. Child Witness to Violence Project

19 Impact of Domestic Violence on the Father-Child Relationship   Fathers who are abusive have difficulty taking the perspective of the child. They minimize the impact of violence on their children   Children are confused and ambivalent about their feelings toward their fathers   Some children express anger and relief that their father is out of the house   Some children express sadness/longing that their father is gone   Some children ally themselves with their father and see him as a victim, especially if they have seen him arrested *Maxine Weinreb, Ed.D. Child Witness to Violence Project

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

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

22 Goals of Child Assessment  To begin to hear the child’s story  To begin to understand what meaning the child attributes to the event(s), what was the worst part of the experience, and what fears the child may have  To understand how the child has been impacted by the violence and how the child is coping  To identify protective factors in the child including learning strengths, relationship skills, coping abilities, and self regulatory capacity.  To observe style and qualities of attachment relationship between parent and child *Maxine Weinreb, Ed.D. Child Witness to Violence Project

23 When a child discloses…  Allow child to tell his or her story  Reassure the child by validating his or her feelings  Do not criticize or speak negatively about the abusive parent  Do not make commitments you cannot keep  Follow the child’s lead  Reassure that nothing that happened was their fault

24 Kids need you. Take the time to get to know us -- even when we’re difficult to befriend. Don’t just think we’re bad kids even though we may be acting bad. We can heal. But we may keep making wrong choices as we deal with the abuse. If you take the time to help us, we’ll know someone cares and we’ll get back on track,(Anonymous, 2004). “ Kids need you. Take the time to get to know us -- even when we’re difficult to befriend. Don’t just think we’re bad kids even though we may be acting bad. We can heal. But we may keep making wrong choices as we deal with the abuse. If you take the time to help us, we’ll know someone cares and we’ll get back on track,” (Anonymous, 2004).

25 Contact Information  Gail Manna, DV Consultant (DCF Waterbury)  Carolina Grijalba-Rodriguez, DV Consultant (DCF Danbury & Torrington)


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