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Connect: Supporting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

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Presentation on theme: "Connect: Supporting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence"— Presentation transcript:

1 Connect: Supporting Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

2 Agenda Welcome and Introductions Family Dynamics and Domestic Violence
What Children Experience Parenting and Supporting Children Affected by DV

3 Introductions Tell us your name And share a nickname you’ve been
called (or wouldn’t mind being called!)

4 Getting Started Read the question on the card and share it with
your group Discuss the question Develop a two sentence response in 5 minutes Share your question and response with the large group

5 What do you think? #1 Why is it important for
resource families to know about domestic violence? #2 How would you feel about a child if you learned that s/he lived in a home where domestic violence occurred?

6 What do you think? #3 How would you feel about a child’s birth parents if you learned that the child came from a home where domestic violence took place? Would you feel differently about the victim parent versus the abusive parent?

7 What do you think? #4 How might you support children who have
experienced domestic violence differently than other children? #5 In what ways are domestic violence and child maltreatment connected?

8 Family Violence refers to violence
between any family members such as: intimate partner violence (also known as domestic violence) abuse of a parent by a child elder abuse sibling abuse child maltreatment

9 Domestic and dating violence are NOT just physical or sexual assault!
Patterns of coercive and controlling behaviors perpetrated by an adult or teen against an intimate partner. Domestic and dating violence are NOT just physical or sexual assault!

10 A Few Statistics… One in four women report experiencing violence in an
intimate relationship at some point in their life (Centers for Disease Control, 2008) 15.5 million children live in households where domestic violence has occurred within the past year (McDonald et al, 2006) 62% of year olds say they know friends who have been verbally abused by a boyfriend or girlfriend (Liz Claiborne, Inc, 2008) One in five year olds say they know friends and peers who have been struck in anger by a boyfriend or girlfriend (Liz Claiborne, Inc, 2008)

11 Why do Men use Violence In Intimate Partner Relationships?
Some ideas people have: •to establish control •acting out culturally designated roles •mirroring violence in society •because they can get away with it it is learned behavior Remember: Not every act of violence between two intimate partners is domestic violence. DV is not an isolated incident, but a pattern of coercive and controlling behavior.

12 Power and Control Wheel
What are other examples for each section on the Power and Control Wheel?

13 Why do Women Stay???

14 Why might it be difficult to work with parents who are victims or perpetrators of domestic violence?

15 Remember: Where can you find help in your community?
DV situations can be hard for anyone to manage. It’s good to seek help and emotional support. Where can you find help in your community?

16 Exposure to Domestic Violence:
Not all children are affected by domestic violence in the same way.

17 Examples of How Children are Exposed
hearing threats of physical harm feeling tension building in home prior to assault being hit/threatened while in mother’s arms hearing/seeing assault on their mother being denied care because mother is injured or depressed being forced to watch or participate in violence against their mother seeing aftermath of violent incident having their relationship with their non-violent parent undermined being taken hostage to force mother to return home being enlisted by violent parent to align against mother experiencing the loss of a parent due to murder/suicide

18 Factor: The Child’s Age
The younger the child, the more harmful the impact may be.

19 Factor: The Child’s Developmental Stage
Exposure to domestic violence can affect the tasks or milestones of the particular child’s stage of development.

20 Factor: Severity, Proximity, Duration and Frequency of Exposure
A child directly exposed to extreme, ongoing and/or frequent violence is more likely to be seriously emotionally harmed.

21 Factor: The Child’s Gender
Boys and girls may be affected differently

22 Factor: The Child’s Role in the Family
Children exposed to domestic violence take on different roles in families that may change over time. Caretaker Confidant Assistant Overachiever/ “perfect” Referee Scapegoat

23 Factor: Personal Characteristics of the Child
Some children have a strong sense of self and are able to weather their exposure to violence by drawing on internal strength.

24 Factor: Presence or absence of loving, supportive adults
The single most critical factor in how children weather exposure to domestic violence is the presence of at least ONE loving and supportive adult in their life. That ONE adult may be YOU!!

25 Factor: Responsiveness of systems
Knowledgeable and skilled professionals who understand and respond effectively to families can play a significant role in how children are impacted.

26 What are some of the FEELINGS and BEHAVIORS that children in your care have displayed?

27 The impact of exposure to domestic violence
on infants and young children may show up as… •low birth weight •exaggerated startle response •somatic complaints •regression in toileting or language •sleep disturbances •difficulty attaching to caregiver •hyper-vigilance •separation anxiety •eating disorders

28 In school-aged children:
Some kids “over-control” their emotions or behaviors (these are internalized effects of exposure to DV). These children “hold things in”. Some kids “under-control” their emotions or behaviors (these are externalized effects of exposure to DV). These kids are more likely to explode, act up or act out. They cannot manage their impulses.

29 A good way to understand the effects of DV on children is to look at their drawings.
An eight-year-old was asked to draw a picture of his father. He wrote in Spanish: “This is how I see my father because he often gets angry and drunk and his eyes turn red.”

30 For adolescents, exposure to DV
can result in kids being more likely to . . . Use drugs or alcohol Be harmed when they intervene in an assault Display attitudes supporting the use of violence Use violence in their own intimate relationships

31 Another example of a drawing in response to the Question “How do you see your father?” In this case, the artist is a 13-year-old boy.

32 What Does Trauma Look Like?
Children who may need professional help: Cry easily or constantly Appear emotionless or extremely withdrawn Have repeated or intrusive thoughts about the event Have trouble sleeping and/or nightmares Be “triggered” by a sound, smell, or other reminder of the experience Have difficulty concentrating Worry excessively leading to physical complaints (i.e. stomachaches)

33 Questions: Which of these effects in children are
easier for you to handle as a parent? Why? Which of these effects “drive you crazy” or makes it hard for you to parent? Why?

34 Supporting Children Affected by Domestic Violence

35 Resource Parents Need to Know
Many children will worry about their mothers safety and will miss their family Tender loving care (TLC) is important but may not always be enough Children need to move from unpredictable danger to reliable safety Relationships may be too close for comfort There is no quick, easy fix

36 Resource Parents can Support Children and Promote Healing
•Create a predictable world •Add structure and clear expectations •Pay close attention to non-verbal cues •Avoid struggles for power and control Model healthy and respectful relationships

37 Resource Parents can Support Children and Promote Healing
Give children choices whenever possible Help children learn not only what not to do, but what to do instead Teach children to put feelings into words Validate children’s feelings about their parents Create opportunities for children to be successful (i.e. sports, music, art, academics, peer relationships) Send the right messages

38 Resource Parents can Support Children and Promote Healing
•Prepare children for visits Advocate for children when they need help in other settings •Be respectful of the children’s parents •Have fun together! •Get support for yourself!

39 Group Activity Read the case study
Discuss the questions at the end of the case study as a group Pick a spokesperson to share with the large group

40 You have the power to help children heal
Final Questions?

41 Thank you for your participation today! Please
visit the Family Violence Prevention Fund at

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