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Developmental Issues and Treatment Recommendations for Children Who Witness Violence
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Developmental Issues and Treatment Recommendations for Children Who Witness Violence

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The effects of witnessing domestic violence are different depending upon age of the child. This presentation explains domestic violence as it relates to children from a developmental perspective.

The effects of witnessing domestic violence are different depending upon age of the child. This presentation explains domestic violence as it relates to children from a developmental perspective.

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  • 1. Growing Up Right!Developmental Issues and Treatment Recommendations for Children Who Witness Violence Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW www.yoursocialworker.com www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 2. One, two, buckle my shoe…The effects of witnessing domestic violence are different depending upon age of the child… www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 3. 0 – 1 year oldWays of Being Drawn In Effects of Abuse Seeing it  Physical injury Hearing it  Death Being awakened by it  Fright Being injured by it  Being traumatized by it Being ripped from mothers arms  Sleep disturbances Having toys broken  Eating disturbances Being born prematurely  Being colicky or sick Being hit while in moms arms  Insecurity because of being Being thrown cared for by a traumatized mom  Not responsive or cuddly Source: http://www.familyrefugecenter.com/effecton.html www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 4. 0 – 1 year oldWhat’s Going onDevelopmentally? www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 5. 2 – 4 Year OldsWays of Being Drawn In Effects of Abuse Seeing it  Acting out violently Hearing it  Withdrawal Trying to stop altercation  Trouble with other kids Becoming abused themselves  Delayed toileting Being used as a physical  Eating problems weapon against the victim  Nervous, jumpy Being interrogated by perpetrator  Sleep problems about victims activities  Insecurity, fear and Depression Being held hostage by perpetrator Source: http://www.familyrefugecenter.com/effecton.html www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 6. 2 – 4 Year OldsWhat’s Going onDevelopmentally? www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 7. 5 – 12 Year OldsWays of Being Drawn In Effects of Abuse Seeing & hearing it  Fear & insecurity Picking 1 parent to defend  Low self esteem Physically intervening  Withdrawal/depression Calling the police  Running away Running to neighbors for help Being used as a spy against  Early drug/alcohol use Mom  School problems Forced to participate in attack on  Bedwetting Mom  Sexual activity Being physically or sexually  Becoming caretaker of adults abused to control Mom Being restricted from contact  Being embarrassed by ones with others family Source: http://www.familyrefugecenter.com/effecton.html www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 8. 5 – 12 Year OldsWhat’s Going onDevelopmentally? www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 9. Teen Boys and GirlsWays of Being Drawn In Effects of Abuse Killing/trying to kill perpetrator  School problems Trying to stop the abuse  Social problems Hitting parent or siblings  Sexual activity Becoming physically abused  Shamed & embarrassed  Truancy Being used as a spy  Super-achiever at school Being used as a confidante  Tendency to get serious Being coerced by perpetrator to relationships too early to escape be abusive to mom home  Depression  Suicide  Alcohol/drug use  Confusion about gender roles Source: http://www.familyrefugecenter.com/effecton.html www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 10. Gender Specific EffectsEffects Specific to Boys Effects Specific to Girls Learning that males are violent  Learning that male violence is Learning to disrespect women normal Using violence in his own  Learning that women dont get relationships respect Confusion or insecurity about  Accepting violence in her own being a man relationships Attacking parents or siblings  Embarrassed about being female  Becoming pregnant Source: http://www.familyrefugecenter.com/effecton.html www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 11. Teen Boys and GirlsWhat’s Going onDevelopmentally? www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 12. When Intervening…Safety first. www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 13. Safety First The safety and security of the child is paramount. Do not assume the victim (parent) can provide for the child’s security. The victim’s own distress or secondary problems may over-ride their ability to care for the child. The victim may may use abusive of coercive strategies to manage the child. www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 14. When Intervening…Structure second. www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 15. Structure secondRoutine and Predictability Reduce Anxiety Daycare Women’s Shelter School Regular mealtimes / nutrition Regular bedtimes and wake-up time www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 16. When Intervening…Treatment third. www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 17. Treatment Third Consider “Safety” as “Treatment”  Ceases exposure and prevents re-exposure Consider “Structure” as “Treatment”  Reduced anxiety through stability of routines www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 18. More Structural Interventions STRUCTURAL INTERVENTIONS is TREATMENT!!! Family School Child Friends Home / Community www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 19. When Intervening…and supportthroughout www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 20. Support Throughout Instrumental  Access to services (medical, social, educational)  Daycare or school placement  Supplies (from diapers to gym shorts) Emotional  Counselling – group or individual  A “safe place” or “buddy” www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 21. Emotional Support Is this a resilient child? Are there indicators of disturbance? Does this child necessarily need counselling Might time and structural interventions mitigate deleterious effects of witnessing DV? If counselling is indicated, what type? www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 22. Types of Counselling Individual  Talk  Art/Play/Music Family  Parent/child, sibling subgroup, entire family Group  Talk vs. activity based www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 23. Violence Crosses gender While violence against women by men is most talked about, women also perpetrate violence against men. Further violence can be an issue in same-sex relationships regardless of gender. While raising violence against women still remains a difficulty in many jurisdictions, many men and same-sex couples find a greater stigma associated with raising the issue and hence these populations often go unserved. www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 24. General Goals of Counselling  Breaking the Silence – demystification  Understanding Roles and Responsibilities  Learning to Identify Feelings  Managing Anger  Identifying Social Supports  Developing Confidence  Learning about the Cycle of Violence  Develop Conflict Resolution Skills  Symptom Reduction  Increasing Safety and Stability  Dealing with Separations www.yoursocialworker.com
  • 25. Growing Up Right!Developmental Issues and Treatment Recommendations for Children Who Witness Violence Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW www.yoursocialworker.com www.yoursocialworker.com