8, No. 3
and Child Welfare Services
is the establishment of control and fear in an intimate adult relationship
through the use of violence and other forms of abuse.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Research indicates that
between 30% and 60% of families served by child welfare agencies
also experience domestic violence (Edelson, 1999). Despite this
fact, many child welfare agencies have been less than clear about
what to do when they come across domestic violence in the families
Some, interpreting their
mission narrowly, have chosen not to address the issue if children
were not directly involved in the violence. Others, defining childrens
exposure to domestic violence as a form of child maltreatment, automatically
placed the victims children in foster care.
While some agencies
offered child welfare workers training and provided them with explicit
policies and protocols about domestic violence, many did not.
In some places this
lack of clarity about domestic violence resulted in inconsistent
child welfare practice, the unnecessary disruption of families and,
in the worst examples, the re-victimization and further endangerment
of children and their mothers. Often these problems were exacerbated
by poor relationships between child welfare agencies and agencies
designed to support and empower battered women.
Thankfully, the fog
is lifting. Today child welfare agencies across the country are
educating themselves about domestic violence and the effects it
has on children and their families. In light of what they learn
they are re-examining their approaches to domestic violence, revising
their policies, and improving their training on this topic. In many
places they are also reaching out to other professionals in an effort
to improve outcomes for victims of domestic violence and their families.
North Carolina is one
of the places where this is happening. This issue of Practice
Notes provides an introduction to domestic violence, explores
upcoming changes in childrens services policies related to
domestic violence, and offers practical suggestions for talking
with and protecting adults and children struggling with this serious
and Domestic Violence
year, at least 3.3 million children are exposed to violence
by a family member against their mothers or female caretakers
one study, 27% of domestic violence homicide victims
were children (Florida, 1997)
In fiscal year 2000-01, more than 1,200 children received
services from domestic violence programs in North Carolina
N.C. Council for Women and Domestic Violence Commission,
Additional resources related to
Childhood Abuse Victims and Adulthood Domestic Violence (Nov. 2004)
"Violence Against Women: Identifying Risk Factors" (16 pp.) (NCJ 197019) summarizes two studies that used different methodologies and samples to determine the extent to which physical and sexual abuse as a child or adolescent contribute to later abuse.
"Women and Domestic Violence: Programs and Tools that Improve Care for Victims." Research in Action No. 15. Kass-Bartelmes, B.L. and Rutherford, M.K. (AHRQ Publication No. 04-0055). This publication describes training programs and tools for use by social workers, care providers, and facilities staff members. Based on studies funded by AHRQ it also identifies gaps in research and calls for building a stronger evidence base for screening, detecting, and treating victims of domestic violence. Available from AHRQ InstantFAX. Call 301/594-2800 for instructions on ordering.
and Domestic Violence," an audio report by NPR's Wendy Kaufman
from Morning Edition, Thursday, August 14, 2003. "Those
who suffer domestic violence at the hands of police officers are among
the most vulnerable victims. A case in Tacoma, Washington, highlights
some of the problems that develop when police are accused of domestic
violence . . . ."
- Batterer Intervention Programs:
Where Do We Go From Here? (http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/195079.pdf,
June 2003). This National Institute of Justice Special Report describes
the most common types of batterer intervention programs and evaluates
two studies of batterer intervention programs in Broward County, Florida
and Brooklyn, New York. Evaluations of both programs call into question
the effectiveness of such programs in either changing batterer attitudes
- Safe@Work Coalition <http://www.safeatworkcoalition.org>
This website is designed to help employers address the issue of domestic
violence. It makes available information about training curricula and
model domestic violence workplace policies, addresses legal issues,
provides domestic violence statistics and resources for employers and
employees, and offers referrals to necessary social service providers.
Bridges Between Domestic Violence Organizations and Child Protective
Services provides both background information and a framework for
collaboration with child protection agencies that will support the work
of domestic violence advocates as they try to improve safety for women
and their children.
- Domestic Violence and Children, The Future of Children, vol. 9, no. 3 (Winter 1999)