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INTRO TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE For Superior Court Self Help Center Staff

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1 INTRO TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE For Superior Court Self Help Center Staff
Traumatic Impacts, Perpetrator Characteristics & Red Flags Nancy Marshall, LMFT, Domestic Violence Intervention Collaborative Steve Baron, LMFT, Retired, Superior Court, Family Court Services, Santa Clara County

How the survivor presents is often the direct result of her experience, and contextually tends to be a logical response that facilitated survival of traumatic experience. Factor in: Perception of self as a wo/man, and perception of roles and responsibilities in the context of a relationship Traumatic impact, emotional reaction and emotional well-being. Abusive behaviors subjected to, and any recurring pattern and escalation of abusive behaviors, learned coping skills, and reactivity to abusive behaviors. Nancy Marshall 2001

3 Physical Abuse Pushing Hair pulling Slapping Punching Kicking Burning Spitting on Attempted Strangulation

4 Sexual Abuse Forced or coerced sex (rape) Violence sex
Attack on genitals Attack on breasts Unwanted use of objects during sex Coerced sex with others

5 Intimidation Threatening looks Gestures
Making a fist, getting right in her face, throwing things, breaking things…. Displaying a weapon Gun, knife, club, belt… Destruction of personal property Clothing, photographs, driver’s license, green card… Hurting pets

6 Isolation Cutting off from friends, family
Not being allowed to go anywhere alone Being followed Having mail opened Listening in on phone calls, destroying the phone Interfering with work Demanding to know where she is at all times Jealousy Disabling her car Calling her constantly

7 Economic Abuse Interfering with job – job loss
Preventing her from working outside the home Taking her money Ruining her credit

8 Emotional Abuse Name calling Put downs Mind games (double binds)
Double standards Blaming False accusations Projection Guilt trips

9 Minimizing, Denying & Blaming
Denying the abuse happened, minimizing the seriousness of the abuse, Denying or minimizing the seriousness of the resulting harm. Refusing to allow medical intervention Blaming his behavior on her Refusing to accept responsibility for what he did Refusing to accept the reality of what he did I didn’t push you – you tripped.

10 Threats Used For Control
Threats to harm her, her family, her friends, her pets. Threats to harm property Threats to report her to police, welfare, child protective services Threats to kill himself, to kill her and/or the children

11 Using Children Threatening to hurt the children
Threatening to take the children Putting her down to her children Sending messages through the children Using visitation to harass her

12 Abusive Attitudes Often internalized by both men and women:
Male privilege Women’s job is to serve men, service men. Men are in charge, make all the decisions Men are superior to women. Double standards Men who cheat are MEN, women who cheat are ________... Men can go out for beer, with their buddies…, women who go out are neglecting their husbands, children…. Rigid gender roles Raising children, keeping house, cooking – that’s women’s work Men are worth more money on the job than women

BATTERING / INTIMATE TERRIORISM HONEYMOON / MANIPULATION / TERRORIST THREATS / I S O L A T N self worth trust self-esteem job loss economic stability independence fear sense of competence friends / family medical care reality testing self CYCLE OF VIOLENCE TENSION BUILDING EXPLOSION Nancy Marshall 2001

14 Repetitive Acts tend to Compound Trauma
Nancy Marshall 2001

Socialization Culture Religion Oppression Gang Cultures Drug Cultures Language Immigration Fear of Law Enforcement/Authority Profession Mental Health Professional, Judge, Cop

16 Symptoms / Behaviors Sleeping too little or sleeping too much.
Changes in eating patterns. Difficulty concentrating, or intense concentration to keep intrusive thoughts at bay. Hypervigilance to surroundings, or a decrease in awareness of surroundings. Avoidance of thoughts, feelings, places, activities, people and /or conversations that remind her of her abuser and/or the trauma she experiences, or a need to talk about the trauma and think about the places, activities, … related to the trauma, repetitively. Nancy Marshall 2001

17 Typical Reactions or Symptoms
Irritability, or absence of emotional responsiveness/reactivity. Feeling detached - from her experiences, from other people in her life, from her life. Loss if interest, loss of hope. Apathy or outrage Lack of ability to recognize or experience more than a limited range of emotions (e.g. anger, sadness, guilt and/or shame). Anxiety – feeling restless, keyed up, on edge. Anxiety can range from mild to panic attacks. Nancy Marshall 2001

18 Typical Reactions or Symptoms…
Flashbacks – being flooded with memory. This can be emotional, physiological, and/or cognitive (with and without visual and or auditory flashback of the trauma). Fear: for physical, emotional, economic safety; for children’s safety; for ability to recover and provide for self (and any children) in the future. Feeling like she is loosing her mind. Substance use/abuse Nancy Marshall 2001

19 Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings or conversations associated with the trauma Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma Inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma Markedly diminished interest or participating in significant activities Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others Restricted range of affect Sense of a foreshortened future Difficulty falling or staying asleep Irritability or outbursts of anger Difficulty concentrating Hypervigilance Exaggerated startle response Nancy Marshall 2001

20 Drugs, Alcohol & Domestic Violence
There is a notable overlap of drugs and/or alcohol in cases involving domestic violence, and drugs and alcohol contribute to impacts of domestic violence. As disinhibitors, drugs and alcohol, especially alcohol, can contribute to increased levels of violence. With rare exception, Drugs and Alcohol do not cause domestic violence Consider exploring behaviors that happen only in private, or primarily in private, and some simple logic.

21 Drugs, Alcohol & Domestic Violence…
Victims are often coerced into using drugs and/or alcohol by their partners. Drugs and/or alcohol are a way to escape the nightmare of domestic violence. Batterer’s can gain an increased level of power and control over victims if they become “hooked” – especially if the Batterer is their connection.

22 Drugs, Alcohol & Domestic Violence…
Batterer’s will often use the excuse of being high/loaded to justify their abuse. Batterer’s will at times get victims high, knowing their victim won’t call the police while under the influence. There can be a circular pattern… Reengaging in a power and control dynamic can trigger relapse for victims in recovery. Relapse can make victims vulnerable to reengagement in a domestic violence relationship.

Men who reach out for help face obstacles women do not face. Lack of full service sheltering Lack of services Skepticism Attitudes about men being “MEN”

24 SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Same Sex Relationships
Law enforcement response does not always look at altercations in same sex relationships as domestic violence. Impacts on safety Impacts on services Impacts on protective orders Impacts on Interventions

Seriously mentally ill are more susceptible to victimization They are often very dependent on their abusive partners They often are not believed, or may be blamed, when they disclose the abuse Perpetrators behaviors are often perceived as being “understandable” vs. power and control.

26 SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: DV & Law Enforcement Officials
Training and job requirements of law enforcement officials, when inappropriately directed at intimate partners, exacerbate impacts on victim emotional and physical safety. Establish who is in charge using presence, voice, stance. Maintain control Use interviewing, interrogation, surveillance and eavesdropping to gain information Lie effectively to maintain officer safety and gain evidence in undercover work Understand the law and the limitations of the law, grounds for arrest, chargeable offenses, and offenses that lack sufficient evidence for law enforcement response. Victims are coming to a Court which is protected by Law Enforcement

27 Hand Holding Needed No time to hold hands…….
Reflective listening Validate Normalize Reflect context Culture Fear & Concerns Be mindful that Court is a foreign country for most customers. Emotionally overwhelmed Despite clear instructions, many don’t “get it”. Emotions can impact cognitive function. Be mindful of the customer’s safety at court. Factor in special considerations. Stalking behaviors, threats to harm/kill, gang – drug affiliations of perpetrator, legal process (is perpetrator facing a 3rd strike?), information released at court as to location of victim services. If possible bridge customer with domestic violence advocates at court. As a minimum provide a list of local domestic violence agencies.

28 CAUTION The most dangerous time in a domestic violence relationship is when the victim is leaving or after she has left. Nancy B. Marshall r. 2000


30 CHILDREN The Family Violence Prevention Fund ( reports: 15.5 million U.S. children live in families in which partner violence occurred at least once in the past year. 7 million live in failies in which severe partner violence occurred. The majority of U.S. nonfatal intimate partner victimizations of women (two-thirds) occur at home. In a single day in 2007, 13,495 children were living in a domestic violence shelter or transitional housing facility.

31 Children-Family Violence Prevention Fund
…Children who have been exposed to family violence suffer symptoms of PTSD, such as bed-wetting or nightmares, and are at greater risk than their peers of having alergies, asthma, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and flu. Children of mothers who experience prenatal physical domestic violence are at an increased risk of exhibiting aggressive, anxious, depressed or hyperactive behavior. Females exposed to their parents’ dv as adolescents are significantly more likely to become victims of dating violence than daughters of nonviolent parents. Children who experience childhood trauma, including witnessing incidents of dv, are at greater risk of having serious adult health problems (tobacco use, substance abuse, obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, unintended pregnancy…

32 Effects of DV on children
The Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence ( provide an excellent outline of age-specific indicators in children exposed to DV. Infants: Basic need for attachment is disrupted Routines around feeding/sleeping are disturbed Injuries while “caught in the crossfire” Irritability or inconsolable crying Frequent illnesses Difficulty sleeping Diarrhea Developmental Delays Lack of responsiveness

33 Men who batter were also more often angry with their children…
Jeffrey Eddleson and Oliver Williams report in “Parenting by Men who Batter” (Oxford University Press, 2007) Men who batter were more likely to have used negative child-rearing practices, such as spankings… Men who batter were also more often angry with their children… Many battered mothers report that their abusers purposefully involve children in violent events. In one study, 48.6% of Mother’s reported that they were intentionally hurt at least sometimes when they intervened to protect their children 38.7% reported that their perpetrator frequently or very frequently hurt them for their children’s acts 22.5% reported that the perpetrator frequently or very frequently blamed them for the perpetrators own excessive punishment of the chldren.

34 Children… Preschool Somatic or psychosomatic complaints Regression
Irritability Fearful of being alone Extreme separation anxiety Developmental delays Sympathetic toward mother

35 Children… Elementary age
Vascillate between being eager to please and being hostile Verbal about home life Developmental delays Externalized behavior problems Inadequate social skill development Gender role modeling creates conflict/confusion

36 Children… Preadolescence Behavior problems become more serious
Increased internalized behavior difficulties: depression, isolation, withdrawal Emotional difficulties: shame, fear, confusion, rage. Poor social skills Developmental delays Protection of mother, sees her as “weak”. Gaurded/secretive about family Adolescence Internalized and externalized behavior problems can become extreme and dnagerous: drug/alcohol, truancy, gangs, sexual acting out, pregnancy, runaway suicidal Dating relationships may reflect violence learned or witnessed in the home

37 Children… Children can be used in a variety of ways in power and control relationships Used as a spy Who is mom seeing What time does she come home Who does she talk to What kind of underwear is she wearing Where does she work Used to coerce mom into coming back home Emotional appeals Undermining her authority so the kids do not listen to her Sending messages to her through the children

38 Children… Some children are very resilient and are minimally impacted
Some show no symptoms initially, with behavioral indicators of trauma surfacing over time Some show immediate symptoms which dissipate over time.

39 Adult victim reactions
Children Degree of trauma Degree of isolation Duration of oppression / abuse Type of abuse Physical Emotional/mental Reactive / resistive History / no history of reports Power differential Financial Education Professional

40 “Characteristics of Batterers”
Lundy Bancroft and Jay G. Silverman “The Batterer as Parent” (Sage Publications, Inc. 2002) Control Criticism, verbal abuse, isolation cruelty … Arguments and decision making, household responsibilities, emotional caretaking and attention, sexual relations, finances, child rearing, outside social contacts. Entitlement Expectation of family life to center on the meeting of their needs, often characterizing his/her partner as selfish or uncaring when attempting to assert her own needs. High and unreasonable expectations: Physical, emotional, sexual. Meals, home maintenance, children’s behaviors, social calendar… Double standards Batterer may define his abusive behaviors as efforts to protect his own rights and see his partner’s attempts to protect herself as abuse of him. Selfishness and Self-Centeredness Batterer may perceive his needs as being of paramount importance, to have their needs be anticipated even when not expressed, and to have the needs of other family members postponed or abandoned. Usually occurs in specific relation to his partner or his children.

41 Batterers Superiority Possessiveness Confusion of Love and Abuse
Batterer’s often believe themselves to be superior to their victims, therefore treating their partners’ opinions with disrespect and impatience. (disgust, harsh criticism, ridicule, humiliation, referring to partner as “the wife” or “her” or other terms vs. her name…) Possessiveness Perceives partner as an owned object Increased risk for sexual assault INCREASED RISK FOR VIOLENCE WHEN A RELATIONSHIP TERMINATES Confusion of Love and Abuse Relationship violence may be described as a reflection of how much love they have for their partner… “I wouldn’t get like that if I didn’t love her so much”.

42 Batterers… Manipulativeness Contradictory Statements and Behaviors
Public – private personas Arguing style that twist partner’s words, distort past events Contradictory Statements and Behaviors Behaviors controlling, manipulative, violent… Words support equality, respect, opposition to violence Externalization of Responsibility If she hadn’t, if the kids hadn’t, if my boss hadn’t….. Denial, Minimization and Victim Blaming I didn’t push her, she slipped. Under-reporting the number of incidents, minimizing the impact of the violence, the seriousness of the harm She ran her mouth, provoked it…

43 Batterers… Bancroft and Silverman state (p. 19) “Batterers tend to abuse more than one woman over the course of their adult relationships.” “This high degree of conflict in his current relationship is probably the result of his abusiveness rather than its cause, and if he replicates these dynamics in his future relationships, his children may be at risk”

44 RED FLAGS Subtle cues Body Language Denigration
Blaming (Externalization) Veiled threats Paired with observations of reactions of the other party

45 I remember I remember, as a child, Hiding in the dark closet with my sisters and brothers, Unable to block out the sounds of my father beating my mother. We would cry and pray together, asking God to make it stop. It never did…..

46 Now, 28 years later, when I talk about it, I still feel that helplessness and fear. I see the house, the closet. I feel huddled up with six kids in the closet..crying quietly. My Mom screams… My father yells… The crashing sounds… Deep terror… Feeling it was our fault somehow. We all paid for it in our adult lives. Not one of us escaped.

47 We paid for it with drugs and alcohol and violent relationships, reliving and acting in our own ways the script we grew up with. That was just from listening to it just from listening to it. The effect it had on our lives.

48 What is sad is that I didn’t realize until the end of my last abusive relationship That my kids were suffering as I did as a child

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