2010 First Judicial District Domestic Violence Conference
Improving the Response
to Children in Domestic
Sarah Buel, Clinical Professor & Director, Halle
Center for Family Justice, AZ State U.
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Please turn off all
cell phonesOr put them on vibrate.
Action Planning. . .
BASED ON WHAT I’VE LEARNED @ THIS
CONFERENCE, I WILL MAKE AT LEAST 2
CHANGES IN MY WORK:
WHAT I’LL DO:
From Nat’l Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges
I. Successful Prevention
A. Early intervention is key for children exposed
*Risk factors include “premature birth, conduct
problems, parental mental illness or
substance abuse, physical abuse, exposure
to violence, homelessness and poverty.”
*Children’s resilience is closely tied to their
battered mother’s safety, so early
intervention must be holistic . . .
Abigail H. Gewirtz and Jeffrey L. Edleson, Young Children’s Exposure to Intimate
Partner Violence: Towards a Developmental Risk and Resilience Framework for
Research and Intervention, 22 J. FAM. VIOL. 151 (April 2007).
1. Relief Nursery, www.reliefnursery.org
Crisis response for families in urgent need
Outreach for Isolated and/or New Families
Therapeutic Early Childhood Classrooms
Alcohol & Drug Recovery Support
Parent Education & Support
Mental Health and Special Education
Transportation and Basic Needs Assistance
Relief Nursery outcomes:
Child Abuse Reports: After 1 year with the program, 95%
of families receive no further reports of abuse or neglect.
Foster Care: 99% of the children attending the Relief
Nursery require no foster care and are able to remain
safely at home.
Healthy Development: 90% of the children attending the
Relief Nursery are developing at age-appropriate levels
and 10% receive special education services on-site.
Clean and sober life style: 85% of parents with a
history of substance abuse who participate in the
Relief Nursery alcohol and drug recovery support
program are still clean and sober seventeen
months after treatment.
Survivor Support Network =
Students & community volunteers assist
victims with ANY need
Fundraise to pay rent &
Help write resumes &
Assist w budget & to
Help kids aging out of
Mentor foster & high risk
Find child care
Volunteers document victim treatment in
the courts for civil, criminal & child
Developing a Court Monitoring
For Materials and information contact
2. Harlem Children’s Zone
Founder Geoffrey Canada: "If your child comes to this
school, we will guarantee that we will get your child
into college. We will be with you with your child from
the moment they enter our school till the moment they
graduate from college."
Pay youth $150 per month to do homework
Raised $100 million with business plan
1 teacher for every 6 kids
Extraordinary success rate!
Nearly all the children in HCZ live in poverty — &
2/3 of them score below grade level on standardized
HCZ combines educational, social & medical
services, covering participants from birth all the way
100% of the past three Harlem Gems (preschool)
classes tested "school ready."
In ’05 only 11% of Promise Academy's 100
kindergartners initially tested above grade level,
80% had reached that point by the end of the school
III. Responding to Children at the
A. Law Enforcement Response to
Children at the Crime Scene
Sure access to document
evidence from & about children is
at crime scene.
1. Focus groups with kids of DV:
1. “What are we doing that helps?”
2. “What are we doing that does NOT
3. “What else can we do to help?”
Based on kids’ responses, we’ve changed
6 Essentials with Kids @ Scene:
1. Put in report # kids living in home + # who
2. Talk with kids alone;
3. Sit at child’s level;
4. Look for kids hiding in closet & beds;
5. Take photos of traumatized kids;
6. Document kid’s statements; &
7. Go over Youth Safety Plan.
B. Non-Testimonial Statements to:
Anyone NOT a government agent.
C. Protect Mom = Protect Child
Interveners must remember that when a
victim recants or seeks to withdraw
orders, she is often trying to stay alive.
Often best way to protect children is to
protect their abused parent.
G. Talk to Recanting/ Reconciling Victim
1. I’m afraid for your safety.
2. I’m afraid for the safety of your
3. It will only get worse.
4. Contact us anytime for help.
5. You don’t deserve to be abused.
6. How can I/we help?
24/7 ~ 140 languages
Nat’l Domestic Violence
Some Faith Community Resources:
1. Faith Trust Institute provides technical
assistance on DV & Sxl Assault and Faith
2. Rev. Joe Parker, David Chapel Missionary
Baptist Church, Austin, TX.
3. Jewish Women’s Int’l www.jwi.org
4. Catholic Church
5. I can send you 3 half-page articles for
church bulletin on DV & kids
V. PROTECTING CHILDREN
A. WITNESS TAMPERING: High levels of child
witness intimidation and coercion, with
devastating impact on the child targets.
B. Tampering with child witnesses is common
in family violence, child sexual assault,
abuse, and neglect cases. The
defendant’s fear tactics induce both
compliance and long-term trauma.
 See William W. Harris, Alicia F. Lieberman, and Steven Marans, In
the Best Interests of Society, 48 J. of CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND
PSYCHIATRY 392 (2007)
C. WARN CHILDREN THEY MAY BE
THREATENED & TO TELL YOU IF
D. PROVIDE CHILDREN WITH ARRAY OF
SAFETY PLANNING TOOLS, ranging
from SAFETY PLAN brochures and
24/7 hotline numbers, to cell phones
and frequent check-ins.
VI. PROTECTING CHILDREN
A. Trained victim advocates accompany
victims to and during court, to the extent
the judge will permit.
B. Subpoena child and adult victims to the
prosecutor’s office, not directly to court.
C. TRAINED DOGS for CHILD
Valerie Wynn, Mary Parrish Ctr,
Nashville # 615-256-5959
Betty Ann Whitten, Tyler (TX) District
VII. PROTECTING CHILDREN
A. On-going SAFETY PLANNING,
including warning of possible
B. On-going check-ins & home
VIII. JUST AS UNIVERSAL
SCREENING FOR DOMESTIC
VIOLENCE HAS BECOME PART OF
THE STANDARD OF CARE FOR
MEDICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
OTHER PROFESSIONALS MUST
SCREEN EVERY CHILD FOR
A. Interveners must initiate questions about abuse
in the household during the first meeting to
assess the immediate safety issues.
B. Ask: “Does anyone hit or scare you
at home?” and “What happens
when people in your home get
C. It is malpractice for attorneys, medical and
mental health providers, social workers, child
protection and child care staff, and educators to
not conduct universal screening.
VIII. Community Safety
The question to be answered is,
“How does this (practice,
policy, rule etc.) enhance or
diminish child safety and
“The Duluth Safety and
Accountability Audit; A Guide to
Responses to Domestic
by Ellen Pence & Kristine Lizdas
A. Include in Audit
1. Child Protective Services
2. Child Advocacy Center
3. Law Enforcement
4. Prosecutor’s Office
5. Courts (family, juvenile, child protection)
6. Probation & Parole
7. Pre-Trial Services
8. CASA &/0r Guardian Ad Litem Program
9. Other entities involved in child protection
B. Start with most receptive
Makes sense to go through process
most cases follow, but not always
May need to call it something else,
e.g. ‘safety check’
Think how adapt this process to
focus on children’s services.
IX. The Northwestern (MA.) District Safety
and Accountability Audit - INTRODUCTION
It is a look at whether the
responses we have created to
address the DV issues in our
homes and communities actually
serve their intended purpose.
A. 6 steps to performing a safety audit:
1. Forming and preparing an audit team
2. Determining what stage of the process to
3. Defining the scope of the audit
4. Collecting data
5. Analyzing data
6. Recording findings that lead to
B. Scope of the Audit
Eventually want audit all systems,
but it made the most sense to start
at the beginning of the chain.
MA. county chose 6 police
Personnel were eager to talk about their
thoughts & feelings regarding their work.
Many greatly appreciated the opportunity
to relate some of their ideas based on the
day-to-day reality of witnessing &
responding to domestic violence.
There is a wealth of knowledge, deep
thought and creativity among the people
on the front lines.
C. Focus Groups
While the rest of the audit team was
conducting interviews and observations, the
safety audit coordinator was scheduling
Focus groups consisting of domestic
violence victims, prosecutors and various
advocacy groups were conducted
throughout the audit.
G. Police ~ Training
Training is central to addressing many of
the identified issues with police response.
What should include?
Police ~ Recommendations
1. Every police department should
have comprehensive written
policies specific to responding to
child abuse & DV.
2. Standardized, comprehensive
training on child abuse & DV
response should be available to all
State guidelines for investigation should be
1. Complete identification & interview
of reporting parties & children;
2. Identification and interviews of
neighbors & any potential witnesses;
3. In-depth review of past acts; &
4. Necessary follow-up investigation.
Risk Questions for Adult ~ Adapt for Kids
1. Do you think s/he will seriously injure or
kill you or your children?
2. What makes you think so? What makes you
3. How frequently and seriously does s/he
intimidate, threaten or assault you?
4. Does s/he threaten harm to himself?
5. Describe the most frightening event/worst
incidence of violence.
Predominant Aggressor Considerations,
Compare the following:
Severity of injuries of each party & level of
Use of force & intimidation
Prior abuse by each party
Likelihood of each suspect to cause further
Fear each person has of being injured by
Including Children in Protective Orders
Protective Orders & Police Response
Tracking High-Risk Cases
DV/ Child Abuse Among Police
IX. Zero Tolerance for
Witness Tampering/ Retaliation
= most common child abuse &
DV offense but least charged
A. How does your community
respond to Witness Tampering,
Bribery & Retaliation involving
Q: What Works to counter
CHILDREN IN SERVICES
– providing what child needs
to be safe . . .
B. Next Steps to Meet Standard of
“INTENT TO SILENCE” VICTIM:
1. Document FULL HISTORY of ABUSE,
including isolation & threats
2. Document all conduct indicative of
3. Identify potential WITNESSES
4. Use an EXPERT in difficult cases
Post-Crawford, Davis & Giles Need:
1. Photos (not testimonial)
2. Medical & EMT Records (with diagnosis)
3. Business Records (phone, work) - 803(6)
4. Public Records (Parole or Prison records)
5. Jail Phone Calls & Letters to Kids or
C. FRE Rule 404(b) permissible purposes for
admitting DEFENDANT’S PRIOR BAD ACTS:
1. proof of motive,
4. knowledge, and
*but this is not an exclusive list.
Classic Abusive Relationship, cont’d.
Justice Souter’s concurrence:
intent to silence should be inferred with
proof of “CLASSIC ABUSIVE
+ argues that there is no basis to suspect
framers would have disagreed with the
inference that forfeiture’s requisite intent
could be met with evidence of a “classic
Classic Abusive Relationship, cont’d.
J. Souter adds, “If the evidence for
admissibility shows a continuing
relationship of this sort, it would make
no sense to suggest that the
oppressing defendant miraculously
abandoned the dynamics of abuse
the instant before he killed his victim,
say in a fit of anger.” (emphasis added)
. . . OF WHICH OBSESSIVE
CONTROL IS A HALLMARK TRAIT.
D. Doctrine of Forfeiture by Wrongdoing
“The rule of forfeiture by
wrongdoing (which we accept)
extinguishes confrontation claims
on essentially equitable grounds.”
Crawford at *1370
Doctrine of FORFEITURE by Wrongdoing =
The accused loses the right to confrontation
if he causes the witness’s unavailability.
Authorization For Release of Information
(Doctor or Hospital/Clinic)
I hereby authorize and request you to release to:_____________________________
The complete medical records in your possession, concerning my injury or treatment during the period from:
_____________________________ to ____________________________________
_____________________________ to __________________________________
XI. Safety Plan: Action Plan to Keep Child Alive
Adult & Child Safety Plans in every
bathroom, school, library, youth
organization, waiting area, clerk’s office;
Available from local programs?
Youth Safety Plans Not copyrighted &
Free from ABA!
A. Ensure Safety Plan covers:
FAITH – what resources & support?
RACE/ CULTURE – what issues are
important for child & parent?
LANGUAGE – what are child’s skills?
LITERACY – need help learning to read?
IMMIGRATION – is child &/or parent
Other, e.g. depression, addiction, disability
B. 6 Things to Say to Child:
1. I am afraid for your safety.
2. I am afraid for your parent’s safety.
3. It will only get worse.
4. We are here for you anytime. Call
911 when you’re in danger.
5. You don’t deserve to be abused.
6. How can I help?
C. Recanting Child & Adult Victim
Victims report very effective to say:
“YOU DON’T DESERVE
TO BE ABUSED.”
You can add:
“IT’S AGAINST THE LAW.”
“We can help by . . .”
D. Family Economic Empowerment
1. TANF/ welfare for family of 3 per mo:
MS. $170 ~ TX $213 ~ OR. $460 ~
MN $532 - Alaska $923
2. Plan: house + car + job training + real
job + counseling + medical care +
glasses (Lion’s Club) + dentist + food.
Teach Kids S.A.F.E.
S = STAY OUT OF THE FIGHT
A = ASK FOR HELP
F = FIND an ADULT WHO WILL
E = EVERYONE KNOWS IT’S NOT
D. Audit to Protect Pregnant Women:
1. 30% pregnant women abused – means
must increase screening & resources to them.
Drs. Anne Flitcraft & Evan Stark research
2. Nat’l Comm Prevention Infant Mortality:
25% increase low birth-weight babies if
Mom is battered.
*Low birth-weight can be negative predictor of
future developmental & expensive problems.
E. Audit to Screen for Kids as Direct or
Indirect Victims, e.g., exposure to domestic
violence shows increased rates of:
Acting out/ aggression;
Losing a developmental skill
Peter Jaffe, et. al, CHILD CUSTODY & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, A Call For Safety
& Accountability (2003); and Betsey McAlister Groves, CHILDREN WHO SEE
TOO MUCH, Lessons From the Child Witness to Violence Project, (2002).
Drs. Perry, Jaffe, Adams:
“CHILDREN DO NOT NEED TO
BE PHYSICALLY ABUSED TO
TAKE ON VIOLENT &
DELINQUENT BEHAVIOR; IT IS
ENOUGH FOR THEM TO BE
EXPOSED TO DOMESTIC
e.g., CO: police must
document if children
saw or heard DV offense.
Gives court essential info to
better provide services to kids
& alert parents to impact on
F. Make Child Safety #1 Priority of CPS
*Currently most states mandate family
preservation & family unification as
priorities. Does yours?
*New York City and Oklahoma:
2 jurisdictions now mandating child
safety is #1.
*Often Best Way to
Protect Kids = Protect
According to Boston & San Diego
Children’s Hospital Child Protection
F. Presumed Restitution
At least 10 states and the federal
gov’t now REQUIRE restitution to
crime victims for all expenses
resulting from the offender’s
commission of the crime.
XII. Cultural Competence
A. Judicial Oversight Initiative:
Milwaukee County: city vs.
suburban police responses:
whites often receive citation
& fines, Blacks arrested.
As a result:
Blacks = 24% population,
but = 66% of domestic violence
cases in DA office;
Whites = 62% pop, but = 32% of
B. Similar bias with drugs:
African-Americans constitute just 13% of
all drug users,
But = 35% of defendants arrested for
55% of those receiving convictions, and
74% of those being incarcerated.
Drugs and Human Rights. Who Goes to Prison for Drug Offenses: A
Rebuttal to the New York State District Attorneys Association.
Human Rights Watch World Report 1999 at
http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/drugs/ny-drugs.htm (last visited
Dec. 29, 2002).
Women of Color
Incarceration of all females increased 88% from 1990
But 2/3 are women of color, most of whom are
Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) predicts a 95%
increase in the rate of imprisonment for African-
at the same time it projects a 15% increase for white
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report: Women
Offenders 6 (1999) [hereinafter Special Report], cited in Paula Johnson, Inner
Lives, Voices Of African American Women In Prison 5 (2003).
Pregnant women defendants. . .
Research shows drug & alcohol abuse
rates are higher for pregnant White
women than pregnant Black women,
but Black women are about 10
times more likely to be reported to
authorities under mandatory
C. Youth of Color
= 32% of youth,
but 68% of those
in secure detention
Burns Institute works to reduce
overrepresentation of youth of color
in the juvenile justice system. This IS
a solvable problem!
XIII. Audit Info to Kids
1. Safety Plan Brochures, coloring books,
2. Ensure info to kids at many sources
day care, school, library, officer calls
Collaboration w Faith Community
Ensure breaking silence of abuse
Faith Trust Institute provides technical
assistance on DV & Sxl Assault and Faith
Rev. Joe Parker, David Chapel Missionary
Baptist Church, Austin www.davidchapel.org
Jewish Women’s Int’l www.jwi.org
Catholic Church www.archdpdx.org/othercath
Nat’l Council of Juvenile &
Family Court Judge’s
Resource Ctr on Domestic Violence, Child
Protection and Custody
Juvenile Justice Resource Center
Quarterly Journal, Monthly Newsletter
American Bar Association’s Commission
on Domestic Violence:
Battered Women’s Justice Project: 1 of
Nat’l Resource Centers on legal issues:
www.bwjp.org or 1-800-903-0111
National Council of Juvenile & Family
Court Judges 1-800-52-PEACE
The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia
Evans (practical guidance)
Getting Free by Ginny NiCarthy (advises victims,
colleagues, family through leaving process)
Lessons in Living by Susan Taylor (inspirational
Trauma & Recovery by Judith Herman (correlates
prisoner of war trauma with that of rape & dv victims
based on research; & offers guidance for assisting trauma
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