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1 The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Victimization: Understanding the Issues, Developing a Coordinated Community Response in Rural Florida.

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Presentation on theme: "1 The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Victimization: Understanding the Issues, Developing a Coordinated Community Response in Rural Florida."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Victimization: Understanding the Issues, Developing a Coordinated Community Response in Rural Florida

2 2 Your Presenter(s) Today

3 3 Why This Training is Important! Researchers and practitioners have noted an overlap between domestic violence and child abuse. Productive collaborations among child welfare agencies, domestic violence programs, and the community exist in only a few communities. Practical responses by child welfare agencies, domestic violence programs, and the community need to be developed.

4 4 After This Training Participants Will: Define Child Abuse, Child Neglect, and Child Sexual Abuse Describe the Power and Control Dynamics of Domestic Violence that may increase the risk of Child Maltreatment Identify Short and Long-Term Consequences of Exposure to Domestic Violence for Children

5 5 After This Training Participants Will: Identify Barriers to/ Characteristics Supportive of Intervention in Rural Communities Define a Coordinated Community Response Describe the Key Elements and Goals of an Effective CCR Identify Coordinated Community Response Partners

6 6 Program Units Unit 1: Recognizing How and When Family Violence Threatens Children Unit 2: Rural Communities: Challenges and Strengths Unit 3: The Coordinated Community Response

7 7 Unit 1 Recognizing How and When Family Violence Threatens Children

8 8 Overview of the Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Efforts to protect children from abuse and neglect often overlook one of the most important factors affecting children's safety in the home: adult domestic violence. Child abuse and domestic violence often occur in the same family and are linked in a number of important ways that may have serious consequences for the safety of children.

9 9 Overview continued First, domestic violence may directly result in physical injury and/or psychological harm to children. Second, it may interfere with the parenting a child receives.

10 10 Overview continued Successful intervention in child abuse relies on: Addressing domestic violence in the home Holding the perpetrator accountable Protecting the survivor

11 11 The Children are Watching The video shows children talking about their experiences and reactions to domestic violence in their homes. It is a very powerful video and may be hard for some people to watch. It is okay to leave the room if the video becomes too hard to watch.

12 (2), Florida Statutes Domestic violence means any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.

13 (3), Florida Statutes Family or household member means spouses, former spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if a family, and persons who are parents of a child in common regardless of whether they have been married. With the exception of persons who have a child in common, the family or household members must be currently residing or have in the past resided together in the same single dwelling unit.

14 14 Domestic Violence Is A pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors intended to establish the batterers power and control over the survivor. These behaviors are exhibited over time and across different situations and circumstances, and are not just observed in isolated incidents.

15 15 Child Abuse Is, at a Minimum: Any recent act or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or An act or failure to act, which presents a serious risk of imminent harm.

16 16 Physical Abuse Physical Abuse is the infliction of physical injury as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking or otherwise harming a child.

17 17 Child Neglect Child Neglect is characterized by failure to provide for the child s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional.

18 18 Sexual Abuse Fondling a child s genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.

19 19 Emotional Abuse Acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that have caused, or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental disorders.

20 20 How Does Florida Define Abuse? Abuse means any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm that causes or is likely to cause the childs physical, mental, or emotional health to be significantly impaired. Abuse of a child includes acts or omissions (2), Florida Statutes

21 21 Harm Harm can occur when any person inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical, mental, or emotional injury. In determining whether harm has occurred, the following factors must be considered: the age of the child; any prior history of injuries to the child; the location of the injury on the body of the child; the multiplicity of the injury; and the type of trauma inflicted.

22 22 Harm Leaving a child without adult supervision or arrangement appropriate for the childs age or mental or physical condition…; Neglecting the child…failing to supply the child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or health care, although financially able to do so or although offered financial or other means to do so;

23 23 Harm Exposing the child to a controlled substance or alcohol; Engaging in violent behavior that demonstrates a wanton disregard for the presence of a child and could reasonably result in serious injury to the child; and Negligently failing to protect a child in his or her care from inflicted physical, mental, or sexual injury caused by another.

24 24 Power and Control Dynamics of Domestic Violence Child abuse, and/or the imminent threat of child abuse is used by batterers to maintain control in an intimate relationship.

25 25 How Does Battering the Mother Have Direct Consequences for the Childs Well Being? A battered womans physical injuries can prevent her from taking adequate care of the children; Trauma-related problems such as depression and anxiety may interfere with activities of daily living, which, for mothers, are primarily related to caring for the children;

26 26 How Does Battering the Mother Have Direct Consequences for the Childs Well Being? Some studies have found rates of substance abuse to be higher for adults experiencing domestic violence in their homes than for adults who are not experiencing domestic violence. Women may self-medicate in order to survive the physical and emotional pain.

27 27 Characteristics of Batterers that Increase the Risk of Child Abuse and Neglect Control: Overrule her parenting decisions/undermine her authority; Cause or forbid her to terminate a pregnancy; Assault her when hes angry at the childrens behavior; Entitlement: Become angry and abuse the children when he feels shes paying more attention to them; Require the kids to pay more attention to his needs than theirs for fear of the consequences;

28 28 Characteristics Continued Possessiveness: Seek custody of the children; Think, The children are mine, so I can do what I want with them.

29 29 Characteristic-related Behaviors The batterer is often so focused on controlling his partner that he neglects the children. Batterers, as a result of their selfishness, have difficulty focusing on their childrens needs. A batterer often controls the battered womans access to money and transportation, severely limiting her ability to seek medical attention for sick and/or injured children.

30 30 More Behaviors Batterers threaten to report the battered woman to Child Protective Services for child abuse regarding injuries the batterer has inflicted on the child. Batterers may also be severely controlling of the children, and are likely to use a harsh, rigid disciplinary style.

31 31 More Batterers tend to be verbally abusive parents, claiming the childrens bad behavior is the reason for assaults on the non-offending parent. Batterers use children as weapons against the mother, and often threaten to take custody of the children, harm them, or abduct them if the mother leaves.

32 32 More Despite the myth that courts always award mothers custody, several studies have found that courts award custody to fathers approximately 70% of the time in contested custody cases.

33 33 Short-term Consequences for Children of Recent Exposure to DV Approximately 100 published studies report associations between exposure to domestic violence and current child problems or later adult problems. About 1/3 of these studies have separated exposed children from those who were directly abused.

34 34 Behavioral & Emotional Problems Aggressive and antisocial behaviors Fearful and inhibited behaviors An increase in physical complaints

35 35 Behavioral & Emotional Problems Lower social competence; e.g., fewer age- appropriate skills to initiate and sustain relationships, to seek assistance from others, and to satisfy personal needs Higher average anxiety and depression More trauma symptoms Temperament problems

36 36 Cognitive & Attitudinal Problems A lowered capacity for paying attention Poorer concentration skills Poorer understanding of social situations Boys exposed to domestic violence are more likely to believe that acting aggressively enhances ones reputation or self- image…holding this belief makes them more likely to become violent offenders Boys exposed to DV are significantly more likely to approve of violence than girls so exposed

37 37 The Link Between DV and Child Abuse In approximately 50% of the homes in which the mother is being battered, the children are also being physically abused by the batterer. The risk of sexual abuse by the batterer to female children is 6 times the risk to girls in non-violent homes. Children are at greater risk of being abused by the batterer as a method of retaliation against the mother when separation has occurred or is imminent.

38 38 The Link Between DV and Child Abuse Most families involved in child fatalities were two-person caretaker situations in which the majority of the perpetrators were the father of the child or the mothers boyfriend. Domestic violence was found in 41 percent of the families experiencing critical injuries or deaths of children due to child abuse and neglect.

39 39 The Link Between DV and Child Abuse Some victims of domestic violence are so fearful of the abusive partner focusing his anger on the children that they over-discipline them in an effort to control the childrens behavior and thus protect them from abuse by the batterer.

40 40 Long-term Problems for Adults Exposed and/or Victimized Exposure to violence as a child is associated with adult reports of depression, trauma-related symptoms and low self-esteem among women, and trauma-related symptoms among men. One study found that women who witnessed domestic violence as a child experienced greater distress and lower social adjustment when compared to non-exposed adults.

41 41 Long-term Problems for Adults Exposed and/or Victimized Many studies have found an increased risk of substance abuse among adults exposed to domestic violence as a child and/or abused as children. Being abused as a child substantially increases the risk of re-victimization in adulthood.

42 42 Long-term Problems for Adults Exposed and/or Victimized In one study, being abused or neglected as a child increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59 percent, as an adult by 28 percent, and for a violent crime by 30 percent.

43 43 Unit 2 Rural Communities: Challenges and Strengths

44 44 Rural America Stereotypes about rural life, like all stereotypes, are inaccurate and correspond to our perceptions and biases rather than reality. Each rural community in America is unique. Popular images of rural America mask the great diversity of rural communities.

45 45 Some Characteristics of Rural Communities Widely shared cultural values, including strong allegiances to: The land Extended family relationships and other kinship ties Traditional gender roles Traditional religious values

46 46 Some Characteristics of Rural Communities Mistrust of outsiders Fear of government intervention in local issues and their personal lives Intimate social climate/lack of anonymity or privacy

47 47 Some Characteristics of Rural Communities Geographic isolation and poverty, which limit access to the following: Public Transportation Systems Health Care Providers Health Insurance Job opportunities and a living wage Adequate Child Care Facilities Advanced Education

48 48 Rural Barriers to Intervention The batterer and extended family members may be the womans only social contacts. Social outlets may be limited to bars and churches; women have few opportunities to establish friendships on their own. There may be no telephone in the home.

49 49 Rural Barriers to Intervention The nearest domestic violence center may be counties away. Without the abuser, the woman may have no way to get to the grocery store, take herself or the children to health care appointments, or social service offices. Leaving the abuser may mean having to leave the community altogether.

50 50 Rural Barriers to Intervention Adherence to traditional religious values may make it socially difficult to leave or divorce the abuser; divorce may be thought of as morally unacceptable. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Physical discipline of children may be viewed as justified by Scripture and acceptable. For some, traditional Christian values may also include the belief that the wife is to be subservient to her husband.

51 51 Rural Barriers to Intervention Law enforcement officers may have insufficient training on domestic violence issues. Officers may view domestic violence as a family matter rather than a crime. Responding officers may know the offender personally and be reluctant to arrest or investigate as necessary for prosecution. Response times in vast rural areas are often longer, perhaps 30 minutes to an hour

52 52 Rural Barriers to Intervention Guns and other weapons are commonly found in rural homes, which correlates with an increased risk of death for women and children upon leaving. Some victims may not speak English, and the limited services provided in the community are not provided in languages other than English.

53 53 Strengths of Rural Communities Some aspects of rural life that work against battered women and children in one community may work to their benefit in others.

54 54 Strengths of Rural Communities The collective conscience of a community can be in favor of the woman, ostracizing and shaming the abuser for his behavior. Community members may be more willing to help people they are related to or know personally. Care of children may be seen as a community responsibility.

55 55 Strengths of Rural Communities The extensive social support networks typical of rural communities can provide very personal assistance and relief. Because service agencies in rural communities have scarce resources, they often build coalitions with one another, making comprehensive service delivery easier.

56 56 Strengths of Rural Communities Rural residents often have greater access to their legislators, making it easier to change laws regarding domestic violence, and reducing the distrust of government intervention. If the cause of domestic violence is taken up by an agency, church group, or prominent local official, high visibility and public education is possible.

57 57 Unit 3 The Coordinated Community Response

58 58 What Is a Coordinated Community Response? A coordinated community response to the co- occurrence of domestic violence and child maltreatment involves: Looking carefully at the strengths and needs of the entire family; Developing a system response to protect the child and the abused parent; and Turning what has been viewed as a private family matter into an issue of community concern and community responsibility.

59 59 Key Elements of a Coordinated Community Response Awareness Understanding Motivation Tools Community Partnerships

60 60 Awareness Of the relationship between domestic violence and child abuse, and the impact of these crimes, on individuals and on the community, across the lifespan

61 61 Understanding How the power and control dynamics of domestic violence facilitate child abuse and neglect

62 62 Motivation A strong desire to intervene in an effective and coordinated way

63 63 Tools Training Protocols Interagency agreements Formal partnerships between Child Protective Services and domestic violence advocates Using the local domestic violence task force to address domestic violence and child abuse as interrelated issues

64 64 Community Partnerships Enlisting the community to respond to domestic violence and child abuse by adopting and funding prevention and intervention efforts that use the resources of neighbors, friends, churches, schools and other non-traditional supports for families

65 65 Community Responses to Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Should Enhance safety;

66 66 Community Responses to Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Should Foster the emotional well-being of battered women and children, including supporting the parenting of the non-offending parent;

67 67 Community Responses to Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Should Hold perpetrators accountable through legal sanctions and batterers programs;

68 68 Community Responses to Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Should Provide a continuum of coordinated services that are accessible regardless of a clients language and culture; and

69 69 Community Responses to Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Should Promote prevention efforts as long-term strategies for social change.

70 70 A Coordinated Community Response Includes: Survivors Certified Domestic Violence Centers Child Protective Services Law Enforcement Prosecutors Victim Assistance Professionals

71 71 A Coordinated Community Response Includes: Civil and Criminal Court Judges Health Care Providers Batterers Intervention Programs Supervised Visitation Programs Local Churches and Pastors Community Social Service Agencies

72 72 The Benefits of a Coordinated Community Response An increase in the early identification of, and intervention with, vulnerable children and their battered mothers; A reduction in the risks of re-traumatization of children and mothers by intervening systems; Enhanced evidence collection;

73 73 The Benefits of a Coordinated Community Response Increased perpetrator accountability, which supports intervention and prevention efforts; and A reduced risk that victims and their children, or perpetrators, will fall through the cracks within the community intervention network.

74 74 Thank You

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