Abuser – Look Who’s Watching
Collateral Damage – While You Are Venting Your Venom on Your Victim, Your Children Become Damaged too. Perhaps for Life.
“What do children need? We know the answer from our own childhoods. First and foremost, children need a safe and secure home, free of violence, and parents that love and protect them. They need to have a sense of routine and stability, so that when things go wrong in the outside world, home is a place of comfort, help and support. For too many children, home is far from a safe haven. Every year, hundreds of millions of children are exposed to domestic violence at home, and this has a powerful and profound impact on their lives and hopes for the future. These children not only watch one parent violently assaulting another, they often hear the distressing sounds of violence, or may be aware of it from many telltale signs. “Me and my sister are scared,” says one nine-year-old girl who lives in a violent home in the United Kingdom. “Our parents fight a lot and we fear they might split up. They fight when we’re upstairs. They don’t think we know what’s going on, but we do.”
(Behind Closed Doors The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children, UNICEF.org)
Dawn M. Beatty, “Children who witness domestic violence or who are victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are likely to repeat or engage in violent relationships later in life (O’Keefe, 1997; van der Kolk, 2009). Victimized children are also at a greater risk of developing unhealthy, insecure ways of relating (Siegel & Hartzell, 2003). Unexpectedly, childhood abuse or exposure to domestic violence was not found to directly impact adult aggression, but it did influence attachment style. As predicted, women who were victimized or exposed to violence in childhood were less inclined to feel close in their intimate relationships and were fearful of rejection. (Dawn M. Beatty, dissertation abstract, Effects of Exposure to Abuse and Violence in Childhood on Adult Attachment and Domestic in Women’s Same-Sex Relationships, Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses)
NCTSN, “The first and most important intervention for children is to address the issues of safety for the family. This usually involves working with the victim of violence to discuss the options she/he might consider to increase safety. Legal advocacy, shelters, and domestic violence service agencies are good resources for addressing the challenges of safety. The first step toward helping the child is seeing that the abused parent/caregiver is safe; another essential step is in assisting older children and adolescents in planning for their safety. Helping children and teens to develop specific strategies for keeping safe gives them a sense of control so that they feel less vulnerable.”
What is to be done? First- Stop-it!
Failing that- Therapy
Child and Family Therapies
“There are a wide variety of counseling and mental health interventions available to families affected by domestic violence. Usually, families need more than therapy; they need case management and advocacy to assist the victim of violence in navigating the legal system, and in obtaining the resources and support the adult victim needs to maintain safety and security for herself/himself and the children. It is important that mental health treatment be provided in a context of comprehensive support for the children and their non-offending parent.”
“For children, interventions include groups, individual therapy, and dyadic treatment [a special treatment for children] with their non-offending parent. An essential component of intervention with all children is the priority of supporting and strengthening the relationship between the non-offending parent and the child. For most children, a strong relationship with a parent is a key factor in helping a child heal from the effects of domestic violence. The choice of treatment depends on the child’s age, the nature and severity of the traumatic reaction, the circumstances of the family, and the availability of other supports. In either a group or an individual format, treatment can provide children and their caregivers with important information about domestic violence and common childhood reactions, which can help normalize their experience and decrease their sense of isolation.” (Interventions for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence: Core Principles, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, NCTSN)
This is where Counseling on Demand comes in.
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