Witnessing Domestic Violence as a Child Protection Issue by jdywqj88863j

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									Witnessing Domestic Violence as
    a Child Protection Issue

        What’s going on
     in other jurisdictions?


           Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
           www.yoursocialworker.com
                  Why Care?


 Our ability to help is in part bound by the
  system in which we are a part.
 To increase our effectiveness, we must learn
  about our system and work within whilst
  promoting change.


                 www.yoursocialworker.com        2
          All States Recognize
          Domestic Violence

 All jurisdictions in the United States have
  laws that define domestic or family
  violence.


                                           National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse
                                           and Neglect Information
                                           State Statutes Series 2004
                                           Children and Domestic Violence
                                           http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov

                www.yoursocialworker.com                                           3
           But not necessarily
         as it related to children
 Approximately 40 States, the District of
  Columbia, and the U.S. Territories
  Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and
  Puerto Rico include children as a class of
  protected persons in some way within
  their definitions of domestic violence.
                                          National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse
                                          and Neglect Information
                                          State Statutes Series 2004
                                          Children and Domestic Violence
                                          http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov

               www.yoursocialworker.com                                           4
           But not necessarily
         as it related to children

Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, South
Carolina, Wisconsin, and Wyoming do not
currently include children in their definitions of
domestic violence.

                                            National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse
                                            and Neglect Information
                                            State Statutes Series 2004
                                            Children and Domestic Violence
                                            http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov

                 www.yoursocialworker.com                                           5
                 And then there are
                  the exceptions:
 The most common exception, in seven States and
  Guam, is for acts of self-defense. Guam also exempts
  defense of others, and Delaware and Louisiana
  exempt acts committed in defense of a child. Three
  States (Georgia, Illinois, and Maryland) provide an
  exception for reasonable acts of discipline of a child.
  Verbal abuse or argument is exempted by
  Connecticut.
                                               National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse
                                               and Neglect Information
                                               State Statutes Series 2004
                                               Children and Domestic Violence
                                               http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov

                    www.yoursocialworker.com                                           6
       But, what about witnessing

 Approximately 20 States and Puerto Rico have
  enacted legislation that specifically includes
  children who witness domestic violence as a
  class of persons in need of legal protection.
        Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida,
     Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi,
     Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, and
                                Washington.

                                                      National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse
                                                      and Neglect Information
                                                      State Statutes Series 2004
                                                      Children and Domestic Violence
                                                      http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov

                          www.yoursocialworker.com                                            7
        But, what about witnessing

 If only 20 States and Puerto Rico have enacted
  legislation that specifically includes children who
  witness domestic violence as a class of persons in
  need of legal protection what does that say about the
  legislation of other States?
 The legislation of other states regarding domestic
  violence and children is restricted to children as direct
  victims as in the case of physical or sexual abuse.
 So, does witnessing count?


                     www.yoursocialworker.com                 8
            We can make it count…
         if we know the legislation…

 The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act
  (CAPTA) is the Federal legislation that provides
  minimum guidelines States must incorporate in their
  statutory definitions of child abuse and neglect. This
  Act has been updates as:
  Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of
                     2003
                                               National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and
                                               Neglect Information
                                               2003 Child Abuse and Neglect State Statute
                                               Series Statutes-at-a-Glance
                                               Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

                                               http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov
                    www.yoursocialworker.com                                               9
   Accordingly and as per the Act,

The term “child abuse and neglect” means, at a
   minimum, any recent act or failure to act on
   the part of a parent or caretaker, which
   results in death, serious physical or
   emotional harm, sexual abuse or
   exploitation, or an act or failure to act which
   presents an imminent risk of serious harm…

                         http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws/capta03/sec_I_111.htm


                  www.yoursocialworker.com                                               10
           Then what happens
          to those definitions?

 Based on CAPTA guidelines, each State
  and U.S. Territory provides its own
  definitions of child abuse and neglect.


                                         National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and
                                         Neglect Information
                                         2003 Child Abuse and Neglect State Statute
                                         Series Statutes-at-a-Glance
                                         Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

                                         http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov
              www.yoursocialworker.com                                            11
     Are definitions standardized?

 The standard for what constitutes abuse varies
  among States. Many States define abuse in
  terms of “harm or threatened harm” to a child's
  health or welfare. A few States define abuse in
  terms of "serious harm or threat of serious
  harm."
                                            National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and
                                            Neglect Information
                                            2003 Child Abuse and Neglect State Statute
                                            Series Statutes-at-a-Glance
                                            Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

                                            http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov
                 www.yoursocialworker.com                                            12
            Harm Defined as
             Categories of
             Maltreatment
 Categories of Maltreatment
  Defined in Statute Include:
           Physical abuse
           Neglect
           Sexual abuse
           Sexual exploitation
           Emotional/mental injury
                                            National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and
           Abandonment                     Neglect Information
                                            2003 Child Abuse and Neglect State Statute
                                            Series Statutes-at-a-Glance
                                            Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

                                            http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov
                 www.yoursocialworker.com                                            13
       Emotional/mental injury

 All Sates and territories include emotional/mental
  injury as a category of maltreatment for the purpose
  of child abuse and neglect definitions…

 All but THREE STATES…

 California, Georgia, and Washington
                                              National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and
                                              Neglect Information
                                              2003 Child Abuse and Neglect State Statute
                                              Series Statutes-at-a-Glance
                                              Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect

                                              http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov
                   www.yoursocialworker.com                                            14
        PTSD is Emotional Injury

 Thinking constantly about the traumatic event.
 Having nightmares.
 Avoiding places, people, or activities that re-mind
  them of the event.
 Losing interest in doing things that they liked
  before.
 Feeling alone, empty, sad, anxious, or uncaring.
 Becoming irritable, angry, and easily startled.


                   www.yoursocialworker.com             15
        Anxiety and Depression are
            Emotional Injury
              Anxiety and Depression



A feeling associated               A feeling associated
with fear or dread for an          with a of loss. The loss
negatively anticipated             can be tangible or
outcome.                           psychological.




                     www.yoursocialworker.com                 16
               Look For The Signs
Missed school or poor school performance
Changes in eating and/or sleeping habits
Withdrawal from friends and/or activities once enjoyed
Persistent sadness and hopelessness
Overreaction to criticism / Anger and rage / Problems with authority
Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
Poor self-esteem or guilt
Frequent physical complaints, such as headaches and stomachaches
Lack of enthusiasm, low energy or motivation
Drug and/or alcohol abuse
Thoughts of death or suicide / Suicidal behaviour
Developmental regression
                        www.yoursocialworker.com                       17
     Protecting Children Subject to Witnessing
     or Being Affected by Domestic Violence


 Acquaint yourself with the legislation specific to
  your State
 Advocate for specific clients with reference to the
  terms, language and definitions of State Legislation.
  Use the laws to your advantage.
 Advocate for change by using changes in other
  jurisdictions to support the cause.


                    www.yoursocialworker.com          18
              Who knows what?


 Email survey of 1,300 persons identified as social
  workers, family therapists and supervised access
  center workers
 This was not a rigorous investigation by any means,
  yet may yield interesting information…




                   www.yoursocialworker.com         19
                    Who knows what?

 Is domestic violence and then specifically, child witnessing thereof,
  an issue in your work?
 Is there legislation in your jurisdiction as it applies to child
  protection and children witnessing domestic violence?
 Do you know the legislation in your jurisdiction as it applies to
  child protection and children witnessing domestic violence?
 If yes, please briefly describe the legislation or law as it pertains
  to child protection and child witnessing domestic violence.




                           www.yoursocialworker.com                       20
                     Survey Says!

 46 responses for a response rate of 3.5%
 100% of respondents identified child witnessing domestic
  violence as an issue in their work
 78% said there was legislation regarding child protection
  and witnessing domestic violence. 11% were unsure
 70% said they knew the legislation as it applied to child
  protection and witnessing domestic violence. 30% did not
 63% described the legislation. 37% were unsure or unable or
  omitted descriptions.



                      www.yoursocialworker.com              21
                Survey shows…

 100% of respondents identified child witnessing of
  domestic violence, an issue in their work

 However, the deeper the survey drilled with regard
  to knowledge of legislation the less the return.




                   www.yoursocialworker.com            22
                     Key Learning

 Each jurisdiction has different legislation regarding child
  protection and child witnessing domestic violence as a child
  protection matter.
 Worker effectiveness in protecting children subject to
  witnessing domestic violence may depend upon the
  worker’s knowledge of relevant legislation and use of
  language to couch concerns in a manner consistent with the
  legislation.
 Legislation is relevant to child protection!


                      www.yoursocialworker.com               23
                    Final Thoughts
   Legislation matters.
   Knowledge of legislation is empowering.
   This translates directly to ability to protect children.
   Share learning, empower others.
 Read reports – go to:
    http://nccanch.acf.hhs.gov/topics/issues/domestic.cfm




                           Thank you for viewing!
                      www.yoursocialworker.com               24

								
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