Identifying & Helping Children Exposed to Domestic Violence – June 25, 2014

Welcome to Right-On with HFG Happy Families Support Network Inc. (HFG)

HFG is a not-for-profit support group that provides ongoing support to women and children who have experienced abuse

HFG is a free support group for women and children who have experienced abuse, run by women who have experienced abuse

The topic for today is – Identifying & Helping Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

Children are exposed to domestic violence when they see their mom being threatened, beaten or belittled

Children are exposed to domestic violence when they try to intervene, trying to keep their mom safe

Children are exposed to domestic violence when they hear fighting or hear their mom being battered

Children are exposed to domestic violence when see the bruises and injuries on their mom after an abusive episode

Children are exposed to domestic violence when they live with fear of when abuse will happen & fear for their & their mom’s safety

Children are exposed to domestic violence when they are abused as well

How can you tell if a child has been or is being exposed to domestic violence?

It is easier to recognize the signs of physical abuse, you see bruises, cuts, broken bones

How can you tell when children are exposed to other types of domestic violence?

Children will display different effects once exposed to domestic violence, some children won’t show anything at all

Some children exposed to domestic violence will bury themselves in school and activities as a way of staying away from home

Read Effects of Domestic Violence on Children – http://hfg-happyfamilies.com/2014/07/01/effects-of-domestic-violence-on-children-june-18-2014/

Are there changes in the children’s behaviour? Have they started being disruptive? Have they become withdrawn?

Do children seem to startle easily? Become upset by yelling? Are overly aggressive with peers?

Are there unexplained cuts and bruises? Or does the explanation not match the type of injury?

Are children overly clingy with one parent? Overly protective of siblings? Not wanting to separate from one parent or siblings?

Are these behaviours new to children or have they been ongoing for a while?

Does children seem distracted? Unable to focus on tasks? Or have lost interest in activities they once loved?

Does children appear to be always sad? Do they cry easily and without an obvious reason?

So how can you help children who have been exposed to domestic violence?

First you must understand and accept that children of all ages are affected when exposed to domestic violence

Provide a nurturing environment, create predictable routines, provide safe environment, foster children’s emotional well-being

Be attentive and ready to listen to children without judgement

Domestic violence and other family problems are often treated with great secrecy

You can’t force children to speak about their problems, but when they do, be ready to listen and acknowledge their feelings

When children tell you about problems at home, do not make promises you can’t keep, if you do they will lose trust in you

Allow children to tell their story. It usually helps children to talk about the violence or issues with an adult they trust

Do not criticize or speak negatively about the abuser. Children will often have mixed feelings about the abuser

Let children lead the discussion when they disclose domestic violence at home

When you are supportive to children making disclosures it increases feelings of security and willingness to share in the future

Be honest and tell children that you need to share their story with people who can help them be safe

Children are sometimes overlooked when there is domestic violence in the home

If you are not sure how to help children exposed to domestic violence, connect with agencies who do

Call your local Victim’s Services, Children’s Aid Society, Police, and ask them how to support children exposed to domestic violence

You have a duty to report when children disclose about domestic violence and you’re concerned for their safety

Let’s work together to help children exposed to domestic violence. We need to keep our children safe

To help children exposed to domestic violence you must also help moms who are victims of domestic violence

Explain your concerns about their children’s behaviours without judgment. Ask moms if are seeing at home

Remember that domestic violence is often treated with secrecy, so allow moms to open up to you without pushing

Have a list of agencies/resources to share when moms disclose domestic violence, shelters, victim’s services, support groups, CAS

Reassure moms that you will not discuss what they’ve told you about domestic violence in the home with the other parent

DOMESTIC ABUSE IS WRONG! SUPPORT FAMILIES EXPERIENCING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. KEEP CHILDREN SAFE.

Thank you for joining Right-On with HFG. We look forward to seeing you next Wednesday July 2 for our weekly Right-On conversation

The topic for next week is – The Healing Process

Please email your questions and comments to right-on@hfgfamilies.com

If you would like more information on the HFG support group please email info@hfgfamilies.com

Have a great day! HFG Hugs!!

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