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The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Victimization


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, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Intersection of Domestic Violence and Child Victimization

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

Your Presenter(s) Today
Why This Training is Important!
  • Researchers and practitioners have noted an
    overlap between domestic violence and child
  • 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.

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

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

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

Unit 1
  • Recognizing How and When Family Violence
    Threatens Children

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.

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

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

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.

741.28(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

741.28(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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.
  • 39.01(2), Florida Statutes

  • 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
  • the multiplicity of the injury
  • and the type of trauma inflicted.

  • Leaving a child without adult supervision or
    arrangement appropriate for the childs age or
    mental or physical condition
  • Neglecting the childfailing 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

  • Exposing the child to a controlled substance or
  • 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.

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

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

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.

Characteristics of Batterers that Increase the
Risk of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Control
  • Overrule her parenting decisions/undermine her
  • Cause or forbid her to terminate a pregnancy
  • Assault her when hes angry at the childrens
  • 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

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

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.

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.

  • 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

  • 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.

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.

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

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

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-imageholding this
    belief makes them more likely to become violent
  • Boys exposed to DV are significantly more likely
    to approve of violence than girls so exposed

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

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.

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.

Long-term Problems for Adults Exposed and/or
  • 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.

Long-term Problems for Adults Exposed and/or
  • 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.

Long-term Problems for Adults Exposed and/or
  • 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.

Unit 2
  • Rural Communities
  • Challenges and Strengths

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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
  • 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.

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

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
  • Some victims may not speak English, and the
    limited services provided in the community are
    not provided in languages other than English.

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.

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

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.

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

Unit 3
  • The Coordinated Community Response

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.

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

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

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

  • A strong desire to intervene in an effective and
    coordinated way

  • 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

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

Community Responses to Domestic Violence and
Child Abuse Should
  • Enhance safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Thank You