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Children & Domestic Violence

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Tracy Shoberg

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Children & Domestic Violence

Exposure to Violence & Death: Addressing the Needs of Children within a Domestic Violence Context What is Domestic Violence (DV)? Domestic violence is a group of behaviors used by one person in a relationship to exhibit control and power over the other. These behaviors can range from physical assault, sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse, and stalking. DV can occur in relationships with all different types of people. This means that anyone can become a victim. "Some of the biggest victims of domestic violence are the smallest" Globally, 275 million children are exposed to DV.

The United States accounts for 2.7 million of those children.

In Wisconsin, 20 children became orphans, 24 became motherless, and 8 became fatherless in 2009. How does DV impact children's lives and well-being?

What happens to these children post-DV exposure?

Are children getting the help they need? This presentation helps to address these concerns and offers a starting point to deal with these difficult questions. Exposure to DV affects EVERYTHING! emotional development
social functioning
ability to learn & focus
moral development
ability to develop and maintain relationships What can be done to combat these negative impacts? These are complicated with cases involving DV homicide of a parent or guardian. Create a safe space Make sure trusted adults are available Be aware Some problematic questions arise... Is a safe space the same for each different child?
Can a safe space be created in an unfamiliar location?
If parents cannot be trusted, who do you trust?
Can unfamiliar adults be trusted?
Can an adult always be aware of a child's actions?
How can you be aware of a child's changing attitude or behaviors if you do not know the child? What about the process of grief, bereavement, and mourning? What is grief? What is bereavement? What is mourning? Grief is the emotional distress people have after experiencing the death of an acquaintance, friend, or loved-one. Bereavement is the state of having lost someone. Mourning refers to particular family, social, or cultural rituals associated with bereavement. Re-framing Topics in Grief Literature within a DV Context What does the literature say? What about a DV frame? Give children information about the death.

Facts often help children through the grieving process.

If no facts are given, children imagine the worst.

How much information depends on the age of the child. Topic 1: Details surrounding the death Topic 2: Remembrance Topic 3: Routines & Relationships Topic 4: PTSD & Mental Health Looking for more information? Check out these resources! Sources used within this presentation: Other helpful sites: 1 1 2 Statistics:
1. UNICEF. (2006). “Behind Closed Doors: The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children”. Accessed at http://www.unicef.org/protection/files/BehindClosedDoors.pdf
2. WCADV. (2009). “Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report”. Accessed at http://www.wcadv.org/sites/default/files/resources/2009_DV_HomicideReport.pdf Books and Other Consulted Sources:
Bancroft, L. (2005). When Dad Hurts Mom: Helping Your Children Heal the Wounds of Witnessing Abuse. New York, NY: Berkley
Books.Groves, B.M. (2002). Children Who See Too Much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress. “Helping Children Cope After the Violent Death of a Family Member”. Accessed at http://depts.washington.edu/hcsats/PDF/factsheets/helping_children_cope_violent%20_death_loved_one.pdf
Harris-Hendricks, J., D. Black, & T. Kaplan. (2000). When Father Kills Mother: Guiding children through trauma and grief. Philadelphia, PA: Routledge.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2004). “Childhood Traumatic Grief Educational Materials”. Accessed at www.NCTSNet.org
Peery, B.D., & J. Rubenstien. (2002). “The Child’s Loss: Death, Grief and Mourning”. Accessed at www.ChildTrauma.org
Requarth, M. “Talking to Children About Suicide”. Grief Digest Magazine, 4(4), 8-9.
Wisconsin State Legislature (legis.wisconsin.gov) Images:
3. http://everydayfeminism.com/2012/10/how-to-help-a-loved-one-experiencing-domestic-violence/
4. http://child-abuse.laws.com/how-domestic-violence-affects-children
5. http://clouducation.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/8-things-teachers-dont-understand-until-they-are-parents/ Give children information about the death.
Involves painting a parent or guardian in a less than positive light.

Facts often help children through the grieving process.

If no facts are given, children imagine the worst.
What has happened is the worst.
Children do not have to imagine the death, if they witnessed it.

How much information depends on the age of the child.
Sometimes what children witness cannot be controlled, no matter how old they are. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) results from exposure to traumatic events persistent over time.
Re-experiencing
Hyperarousal
Avoidance

For children dealing with grief, consultation with a qualified mental health professional is highly encouraged. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) results from exposure to traumatic events persistent over time.
Higher rate of PTSD development likely in DV cases
Depending on what the child has heard or witnessed, re-experiencing, hyperarousal, and avoidance could be increased.

For children dealing with grief, consultation with a qualified mental health professional is highly encouraged.
What if children are placed within a home that cannot afford mental health visits?
Forcing a child to see a mental heath professional could cause more trauma or suggest that how they are grieving and mourning is in some way wrong. Try to get back to normal family structure and routines.

Overtime create a regular and stable family and home life.

Acknowledge the period of adjustment and change.

Develop and deepen relationships with children to help them cope with the death. Positive remembering of the person is encouraged.

Maintain a continuing, healthy attachment to the deceased.
Reminiscing
Remembering
Maintaining a memorial

Unusual visual, auditory, or other sensations regarding the deceased is natural and normal. Positive remembering of the person is encouraged.
There may be few positive memories
Positive memories of the deceased may bring up negative memories of the perpetrator.

Maintain a continuing, healthy attachment to the deceased.
This only applies if there was a healthy attachment before the homicide occurred.

Unusual visual, auditory, or other sensations regarding the deceased is natural and normal.
These could bring up troubling aspects of DV, especially with the metaphorical loss of the perpetrating parent. Try to get back to normal family structure and routines.
Often times with cases of DV homicide, there is no structure or routine to go back to.

Overtime create a regular and stable family and home life.
Keep in mind that this may take longer than average.
Children who change homes frequently may never be able to create a sense of home or stability.

Acknowledge the period of adjustment and change.
This period of adjustment may become constant.

Develop and deepen relationships with children to help them cope with the death.
Deepening existing relationships with the parent who died nor the perpetrating parent are not (often) options.
Developing relationships during this time may be extremely difficult Topic 5: How to Discuss Suicide From the Abstract to the Case by Case Wisconsin Legislative Policy at a Glance www.wcadv.org www.domesticviolence.org www.vawnet.org www.futureswithoutviolence.org www.nctsn.org www.ChildTrauma.org 767.43 Visitation rights of certain persons
Upon petition by someone who has maintained a relationship similar to that of a parent-child relationship with the child, the court may grant visitation rights if the parents have notice of the hearing and if the court determines that visitation is in the best interest of the child.
With the exception of a homicide conviction of 1st-degree or 2nd-degree intentional homicide of the parent of said child. The "right" way to tell a child about suicide.

It is best to get this information from a parent or trusted adult.

Children often experience feelings of guilt and responsibility. The "right" way to tell a child about suicide.
These situations are more difficult as one parent has died at the hands of the other, but the other has also died.

It is best to get this information from a parent or trusted adult.
There is no parent to give this information.
Who is the next trusted adult?

Children often experience feelings of guilt and responsibility.
These feelings of guilt and responsibility can also be exacerbated with feelings of revenge and anger. Topic 5: How to Discuss Murder-Suicide "If we are willing to be patient, listen well and observe our children's actions, they will teach us how to best support them"
-Margo Requarth 2011 Assembly Bill 632
Grants rights to the next of kin of a parent who is the victim of a homicide perpetrated by the child's other parent.
1) spouse or domestic partner of the victim
2)an adult child of the victim,
3) the parent of the victim (the child's grandparent)
4) an adult sibling of the victim
5) the grandparent of the victim www.abuseintervention.org 3 4 5 Background What Happened?
Father killed mother
7 young children
Hmong culture A few notes on Hmong Culture and DV Homicides Culture and language barriers
Children's voices are silenced, as well as the voices of the victim's family
Wife and children are often blamed
Notion that children are supposed to go to the perpetrating parent's family What happened to the children? oldest daughter oldest son 5 youngest victim's mother foster home foster home worked with legal aid and child protective services
went to the perpetrator's family
mother's life insurance & money problems The Eldest Son foster care separated from his family and siblings
oldest sibling leads family, becomes decision maker
wanting to re-enter Hmong community How is he doing NOW? 18 years of age
still impacted from this and still struggling today
now lives with friends
deals with rumors about his mother and his family
feelings of loneliness, isolation, and responsibility Community Response The advocate that works with him always tells him two things:
1) Focus on yourself
2) Find a strong support system 2011 Public Response
Training Hmong clan leaders to train community leaders
Main message: kids need to be valued!
How can we provide these services?
How can we balance mainstream culture with Hmong culture? womenscommunity.org
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