The role of teachers in helping children of domestic violence.
Timmy's oppositional behavior is a frequent source of frustration for his 5th-grade teacher. She has tried to be nurturing, suspecting that he has some kind of trouble at home, but he continues to show her disrespect. The teacher becomes confused when Timmy rapidly develops a friendship with her new teaching assistant, Robert, and begins responding to her requests by saying, "I don't have to do anything you say! I only have to listen to Robert!"
Anna is shy with her classmates, but she adores her teacher and works excessively hard to please her. After she returns from an absence of several days, her teacher inquires about where she has been. Anna's eyes widen, her body freezes, and she is silent.
Marcella's teacher wonders why Marcella seems so angry. The teacher has to watch her like a hawk because she bullies other children so much. Marcella becomes enraged if she so much as suspects that she has been insulted, yet she often calls herself stupid, worthless, or ugly.
These children appear so different from each other, yet they all live with the same frightening secret: Their mothers are routinely battered by intimate partners. Every day, these children fear witnessing their mother's abuse. Although many children suffer from this problem, the shroud of silence that surrounds domestic violence leads them to believe that they are alone.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence may be defined as the systematic abuse by one person in an intimate relationship in order to control and dominate the partner. This pattern of behavior is learned, self-reinforcing, and more socially condoned than you might want to believe. Abusive behaviors can be physical emotional, mental, and sexual. Batterers also can use spiritual, social, and economic realms to control and dominate their partners, such as denigrating their partner's religious beliefs or withholding financial support in order to create dependency. Although men are not the only abusers, about 85 percent of the victims of intimate violence are women (Greenfield et al., 1998).
Domestic violence is a social issue. It afflicts persons of all socioeconomic categories and cultures (Greaves, Heapy, & Wylie, 1988). MacLeod (1987) reveals that least one in 10 Canadian women are abused by the man with whom they live. One in 14 marriages in the U.S. suffers from repeated, severe violence (Dutton, 1988). A review of the literature (Edleson, in press) cites substantiated estimates that, in the U.S., from 3.3 million to 10 million children are exposed to domestic violence each year. Approximately 3 to 5 children in every Canadian classroom will be exposed to domestic violence (Kincaid, 1982). Although such violence reaches across all socioeconomic strata, impoverished children have fewer means to escape its impact. They typically live in smaller dwellings, and so are more likely to experience the violence up close, and they lack the resources to find help or seek refuge.
Exposure to violence dramatically increases the potential for children to become victims or batterers as adults (Dutton, 1988; Strauss, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980). Table 1 shows how domestic violence affects children's feelings and perpetuates the cycle. Each violent act they witness harms or confuses children. Over time, they lose the meaning of morality and love. With proper intervention, however, children can learn to cultivate healthy relationships. Breaking the silence surrounding domestic violence and providing children with the skills needed to cope are the keys to ending this cycle.
The School's Role in Combating Domestic Violence
How can schools help? Often, they are the only emotionally and physically safe havens for children. During a group therapy session for children of battered women, one 2nd-grader sadly noted, "The ONLY safe place is school." Weeks later, when his mother attempted to get away from her batterer, she escaped by boarding the school bus with her children. When she arrived at the school, I helped her to file a police report, obtain an order of protection against her husband, and develop a safety plan with her children.
The School's Domestic Violence Safety Plan
Ideally, schools should have a plan for helping children and families of domestic violence. Table 2 offers a domestic violence intervention process that schools can follow. Note that effective intervention involves many people, not just the teacher. Unfortunately, too many school administrators avoid this disturbing issue altogether, and so do not have clear procedures. While schools are legally required to report to the state's child protective service agency when child abuse or neglect is suspected, there are no other legal requirements regarding their role.
The Role of the Social Worker
The social worker plays the most critical role in stopping the cycle of violence, and in giving direct support to teachers. While social workers are trained to remain calm when listening to accounts of even the most challenging and painful stories of abuse, most teachers are not. Therefore, I believe that social workers should not shift the responsibility of handling abuse onto teachers; teachers need to focus on the classroom. Second, social workers should attend not only to the teacher's need to understand how to deal with children of domestic violence, but also to the possibility that domestic violence may be part of a teacher's own experience. Third, they should be aware of the school's child abuse/neglect reporting policy, and help teachers understand the reporting and subsequent investigation process. Some child welfare services may not consider the witnessing of domestic violence as a reportable incident of abuse, and therefore the agency may not intervene. (For a discussion of Child Protection Services responses to children of battered women, see Echlin & Marshall, 1995.) Finally, school social workers must remember that teachers are their clients, too. They should have regular conversations with the teachers about the child in question, provide specific intervention techniques, and remind teachers of the positive influence they can have.
The Role of the Teacher
Without supportive policies in place, the teacher must bear responsibility for meeting the needs of children of domestic violence. The first challenge is to identify at-risk children. Upon first learning that a student is struggling with family violence, teachers may feel overwhelmed by the desire to save the child. The teacher's role, however, is not to end violence, investigate any allegations, or advocate that the child be removed from the family. Consequently, teachers may feel helpless.
Instead of giving in to these feelings, teachers should take comfort in knowing that they promote healing. A teacher's willingness to listen to a child's story without judgment can provide the foundation from which to build resiliency and personal strength. The most meaningful assistance teachers can offer these children is a comforting place to unload their burden.
Identification: The First Step Toward Intervention
Identifying children of domestic violence, the first step in the intervention process, should be done primarily by the school social worker. The teacher, however, is often the first person to notice signs of trouble, and so he or she needs to report those concerns to the social worker. If the social worker cannot, or refuses to, assume primary responsibility in the intervention process, the teacher must advocate in the student's best interest. Seek guidance through a local domestic violence program, or contact any of the resources listed in Appendix C.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Witnessing signs of domestic violence and hearing disclosure from the child (or parent) are the two most common ways that teachers and social workers become aware of abuse. Children may display disturbing, provocative, and/or confusing behaviors. Aside from direct disclosure, there is no single behavior that proves exposure to domestic violence. Research has shown, however, that these children generally exhibit certain behaviors. Whether or not teachers see obvious signs of domestic violence, teachers can become aware of its existence by answering these questions.
Is the child apprehensive about going home? Does the child express a wish that you were his parent? Children of battered women often attempt to escape the inevitable tension and violence in their family. They may avoid going home, or create a fantasy family to which they can "escape" emotionally.
Does the child worry excessively over his mother, father, or siblings? Does he attempt to be overly responsible for adult matters? Does he try to convince you that there is an urgent need for him to go home? In their attempts to thwart future violence, children may try to keep order by pleasing others. The child may be overly preoccupied about being available in order to keep his mother or siblings safe. Simply hearing that it is not their obligation to end the violence, and knowing that someone would help their family, can bring relief and allow these children to return to their normal classroom activities (see Table 2).
Does the child fall asleep in class during low-stress, low-activity periods? Is she often sleepy or lethargic? Because conflicts often begin at night, children commonly are afraid to go to sleep, fearing the onset of more violence, or they might be awakened by fights. Some abusers purposely awaken the children in order to have them witness the violence, as testimony to their power.
Does the child threaten and bully to get his way? Is the child repeatedly the victim of others' bullying? Does she act timid, fearful, or passive with peers? Children from violent homes often act aggressively. They may be re-enacting the trauma in an attempt to gain mastery over their feelings of powerlessness. Furthermore, their primary source of modeling has been a coercive and unpredictable adult. Consequently, these children view relationships as having a winner and a loser. At school, they may go to great lengths to ensure that they "win." Never enter into a power struggle with these children-you'll both lose. Learn how to bow out so that you both save face. On the other hand, some children may need to be taught appropriate assertiveness. They may be accustomed to staying quiet in order to keep safe. Children who behave in such a way may identify with the victim instead of with the abuser.
Does the child talk about alcohol or drug use at home? Alcohol and drug use are highly correlated with domestic violence. There is an 85 percent incidence of alcohol or other drug abuse among batterers, and alcoholic women are at a higher risk of being abused than are non-alcoholics (Children of Alcoholics Foundation, Inc., 1996).
Is the child withdrawn? Does she have difficulty making friends? Does she appear depressed? Some children withdraw emotionally, as well as physically, in their attempts to cope with abuse. They may lack the capacity to establish prosocial bonds or to trust others, due to repeated experience with broken promises and unpredictable and dangerous parental behaviors.
Does he complain frequently of stomachaches, headaches, or other afflictions? Does the child have frequent ailments? The child who complains of aches and pains may have found this strategy to be an effective means of obtaining nurturing attention. Furthermore, children of domestic violence are more apt to suffer from bona fide health ailments, such as ulcers and skin rashes, than other children (Kilmer & Price, 1995). Regardless of whether the need for medical services is legitimate, teachers should attend to the emotional content behind the complaint.
Does the child have a very low threshold for frustration? Does he cry or throw a fit over minute difficulties? Children who experience domestic violence often have difficulty coping with even small amounts of frustration or challenge. Do not mistake their low tolerance for low ability. Their potential has been marred by trauma, and needs to be patiently restored.
Does the child seem preoccupied? Does she startle easily? Children sometimes daydream or become preoccupied about abusive events. They may be startled by ordinary events, such as a teacher's approach.
Does the child's mood shift abruptly, without reason? Is she calm at times, and inconsolable at other times? Does she often seem agitated or anxious? Does she have peculiar reactions to routine events? Children who have witnessed domestic violence may show signs of trauma during routine activities and in play. They may respond to seemingly benign events with an intensity specific to the original violent incident. Even at school, traumatized children often live in the emotional environment of the traumatic event.
Do the parents seem to be hiding something? Do they deny or minimize any observable injuries? based on my experience, abusers are capable of presenting themselves as caring, charming, and concerned parents. When questioned about the family, however, the abuser responds evasively or defensively, projecting blame onto others for any problems that the teacher describes. Meanwhile, the victim's evasiveness and defensiveness are part of efforts to abide by the abuser's control and to ensure personal safety. Children of these parents may be overly tidy and well-groomed, in order to maintain the facade of domestic tranquility.
Not all children exposed to violence manifest obvious behavioral signs. Some children keep emotional wounds hidden and appear to be "handling it." Some children survive domestic violence by fading into the background and keeping silent. They take this survival skill with them into the classroom. Still others outperform their peers, hoping that their actions will not be the cause of anyone's grief.
A Child's Disclosure of Domestic Violence
The second way teachers and social workers become aware of domestic violence is through a child's disclosure of the trauma. Disclosure can occur all at once, or in bits and pieces as the child tests the teacher's responses. Fear and silence are teachers' two common responses toward domestic violence. The teacher must confront his own reservations and prejudices before domestic violence can be addressed. The teacher's first responsibility must be to stay calm and supportive. Therefore, first inquire about the school's safety plan (see Table 2), and obtain specific information and support from school staff.
Here are suggestions for responding to a child's disclosure of domestic violence.
* Make promises you cannot keep. If the child asks you to keep a secret, remember that you are required to report child abuse and neglect. You can, however, promise to help. Say, "You want me to know what has happened, but you think it should stay secret. I cannot promise to keep what you told me a secret because I need to tell the right people who can help you. I can promise to do my best to help you."
* Become emotional or judgmental. The child will be watching your reaction. Stay calm and do not respond with personal opinions.
* Get angry at the abuser. Regardless of the situation, the abuser is still part of the child's family. The batterer may appear kind, caring, and loving at times. That is the parent the child wants. Children from violent homes generally do not want the family to split up; they just want the violence to stop.
* Jeopardize the child's or parent's safety by sending home unsolicited information about domestic violence. The same rule applies to parents/partners who are separated.
* Listen without judgment. Let the child talk about his experience, without passing judgment or asking direct questions. A child may disclose feelings voluntarily, or she may be waiting for you to let her know you are emotionally available. Say, "You look upset/unhappy today. Has something happened to upset you?"
* Identify the child's feelings as normal. Ask how she is feeling. Help the child identify those feelings. A way to respond might be, "That would be scary/sad/confusing. Are you feeling scared/sad/mixed up? Anyone would be. It is normal (or okay) to feel scared/sad/confused about family fighting."
* Let the child know that you believe him. It takes great courage for a child to disclose domestic violence. Family and society at large send the message that children should keep family dysfunction a secret. Reassure the child by saying, "I believe what you are sharing with me. You are brave. What you told me will help you feel better and might help your family."
* Put responsibility for the abuse on the abuser. Remember that violence is a choice. Sometimes, children believe the batterer's excuses that he had no other choice. You can talk with the child about alternative choices.
* Begin the safety plan (or some type of intervention). Enlist the help of social workers, or another intervening party, to help the child develop a personal safety plan (see Table 2).
* Inform the child of what will happen each step of the way. You can help reduce a child's fear by communicating throughout the process. Let her know what you will and will not do. Will you talk with the social worker or mother? Will you help her think out a safety plan? Be specific; certainty helps reduce fear.
* Help the child develop coping skills. Help the child identify ways to discharge his feelings safely. Provide a variety of classroom activities that allow the child to work through his feelings.
The teacher's response to domestic violence sets the stage for how the child copes with this painful issue, now and in the future. Your response is the litmus test for further disclosure. Teachers can help by:
* Making the classroom an emotionally safe place
* Encouraging cooperation instead of competition
* Accepting alternative ways for children to complete their work, instead of having one "right" answer or product
* Maintaining a calm and upbeat voice
* Focusing on the reasons and goals for having classroom rules on safety, and for exhibiting caring behaviors
* Rejecting threats or fear as discipline methods
* Alerting the child to any changes in the class schedule; talking through new or different procedures and rules; preparing them for the presence of new people in the classroom
* Modeling nonviolent, prosocial problem-solving behaviors
* Modeling a variety of assertive behaviors; pointing out nonviolent assertive (as opposed to aggressive) behaviors as they occur
* Talking about people at school, or outside of school, who model prosocial behaviors
* Focusing on the victim's needs when aggression occurs, and helping the victim avoid becoming a victim again.
The above strategies are just a sampling of what teachers can do to establish a productive classroom environment. If teachers need more help, they should sit down with a social worker (or appropriate personnel) and explain in detail what has been observed. If more intervention is necessary, involve a network of professionals. The appendices at the end of this article offer resources for dealing with domestic violence. One resource I recommend to professionals and teachers in their search to understand better how to deal with domestic violence, and in their more direct interventions with children, is called "Della the Dinosaur" (Schmidt & Spencer, 1996). This manual focuses on grades K-6, and offers advice for gaining administrative support for addressing domestic violence as a social issue; forming support groups for at-risk children; and helping children regain trust, confidence, and self-esteem.
Domestic violence requires intervention from a large network of trained professionals. Teachers play a key role simply because they have the most contact with children affected by such violence. However, social workers and principals must shoulder most of the responsibility. Teachers' first and foremost priority is to make the classroom emotionally safe. Including a topic on "Family Diversity" can open doors for talking about how "all families are different, and all have problems and manage their problems in different ways." Finally, all adults can help children of domestic violence understand that they have the right to be safe, healthy, and loved.
Note: Ms. Kearney can be reached at: P.O. Box 80333, Phoenix, AZ 85060-0333; at email@example.com; fax 602-956-2358.
Common Feelings for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
Anger: at the abuser for the violence, at the victim or themselves for not being able to stop the violence, and at the world for allowing this to happen.
Fear/Terror: that the mother or father will be seriously injured or killed, that they or their siblings will be hurt, that others will find out and then the parents will be "in trouble," or that they will be removed from the family.
Powerless: because they are unable to keep the fights from happening or to stop them when they do occur, and because the community, including law enforcement, often does nothing to stop the abuse.
Loneliness: feeling unable or afraid to reach out to others, feeling "different," or feeling isolated.
Confusion: about why it happens, about choosing sides, about what they should do, about what is "right" and "wrong." Additionally, they are confused about how the abuser can sometimes be loving and caring, and, at other times, be violent.
Shame: about what is happening in their home.
Guilt: because they believe that they cause the fights or should be able to stop them.
Distrust: of adults, even teachers, because their experience tells them that adults are unpredictable, that they break promises, and/or that they do not mean well.
School Safety Plan in the Domestic Violence Intervention Process
Principal: believe a spouse who reports or discloses domestic violence; organize roles for school personnel; disseminate information; purchase domestic violence educational materials (see Appendices A and B).
Social Worker: know the community resources and the processes involved in getting help for an abused spouse, including orders of protection, shelters, and police reporting (see Appendix C).
Counselor: work with the mother and the children therapeutically, and guide the teachers in their education efforts.
Nurse: document any injuries stemming from domestic violence.
Teacher: address domestic violence as a social issue in the curriculum (see Appendices A and B); teach non-violent methods of resolving conflicts; model and reward pro-social behaviors.
Safety Officer: make a police report of the victim's disclosures.
Secretary: call 911 from a safe office when an abusive parent is on the school property in violation of a protection order.
Child: work with adults to create a safety plan specific to the,family's situation. Always prioritize the child's physical safety, then his siblings' physical safety, and then obtain adult help, if possible.
Children of Alcoholics Foundation, Inc. (1996). Helping children affected by parental addiction and family violence: Collaboration, coordination and cooperation.
Dowiatt, S., & Craig, S. (1990). We can't play at my house. Children & domestic violence. Book II: Handbook for teachers. Boulder, CO: Boulder County Safehouse.
Dutton, D. G. (1988). The domestic assault of women: Psychological and criminal justice perspectives. Toronto, ON: Allyn & Bacon.
Echlin, C., & Marshall, L. (1995). Child protection services for children of battered women: Practice and controversy. In E. Peled, P. G. Jaffe, & J. L. Edleson (Eds.), Ending the cycle of violence: Community responses to children of battered women (pp. 170-185). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Edleson, J. L. (in press). Children's witnessing of adult domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Greaves, L., Heapy, N., & Wylie, A. (1988). Reassessing the profile and needs of battered women. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 7, 39-51.
Greenfield, L. A. et al. (1998). Violence by intimates. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
Kilmer, D., & Price, T. (1995). No safe place: Family violence & children. Citizens for Missouri's Children, Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis. Retrieved March 9,1997, from the World Wide Web: http://www.oseda.missouri.edu/kidcnt/reports/violence/nspfam.html
Kincaid, P. (1982). The omitted reality: Husband-wife violence in Ontario and policy implications for education. Concord, Ontario: Belsten.
MacLeod, L. (1987). Battered but not beaten . . . Preventing wife battering in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Advisory Council on the States of Women.
Schmidt, T., & Spencer, T. (1996). Building trust, making friends. Four group activity manuals for high risk students. Della the Dinosaur talks about violence and anger management (grades K-6). Minneapolis, MN: Johnson Institute.
Strauss, M. A., Gelles, R. J., & Steinmetz, S. (1980). Behind closed doors. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Anchor.
Storybooks for Helping Children With Family Violence
A Family That Fights, by Sharon Bernstein. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 847-581-0033. An 8-year-old boy and his two younger siblings live in a home where the father abuses the mother. This is a realistic portrayal of a family struggling with domestic violence. Ages 4-12.
A Safe Place, by Maxine Trottier. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co., 847-581-0033. This story describes a young girl's experience of staying with her mother in a domestic violence shelter. Ages 5-9.
Clover's Secret, by Christine Winn and David Walsh. Minneapolis, MN: Fairview Press, 800-544-8207; FAX 612-672-4980; http://www.press.fairview.org. In a land where people can fly, two girls form a friendship that eventually exposes the family violence that one of them experiences. With the support of her friend, Clover reaches out to her teacher, who begins the helping process. Ages 4-10.
Daddy, Daddy, Be There, by Candy Dawson Boyd and Floyd Cooper. New York: Philomel Books. This story touches on children's moving pleas for fatherly love and support. Ages 3-10.
I Wish the Hitting Would Stop, The Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead. Fargo, ND: Red Flag Green Flag Resources, 800-627-3675; FAX 888-237-5332; http://www.glness.com/rfgf/index.html. A workbook that explores young persons' feelings and thoughts about parental violence. Safety planning and coping skills are addressed, as well. A 68-page facilitator's guide includes discussion questions, related activities, and a resource section listing books, films, and games for children and adults, as well as information on the "Cycle of Violence" and "Myths and Realities of Domestic Violence." Ages 6-14.
Mommy and Daddy Are Fighting, by Susan Paris and Gail Labinski. Seattle, WA: Seal Press, 206-283-7844; FAX 206-285-9410; www.qrd.org/qrd/business/publishers/seal.press-catalog-fall.95. Three sisters build a fort of blankets and huddle together to cope with their father's abuse against their mother. Ages 4-8.
Salad for 20, by Anna Garcia Steiner. Concord, CA: Battered Women's Alternatives, 925-676-2845; FAX 925-676-0532; P.O. Box #6406, Concord CA 94524. Told from the perspective of an 8-year-old boy, this book focuses on a mother and child's experience of leaving an abusive father and entering the unfamiliar environment of a shelter. This book is available only through Battered Women's Alternatives. The cost is $5.95 each, plus $.75 for postage and handling. A package of six costs $25, plus $3 for postage and handling. Proceeds from the sale of this book support the fight to keep women safe from domestic violence. Ages 5-10.
Something Is Wrong At My House/Algo Anda Mal En Mi Casa, by Diane Davis. Seattle, WA: Parenting Press, 800-9926657; FAX 206-362-0702; www.parentbooks.com. A boy tells about the violence in his home and how it affects him. Includes advice for children. Ages 3-10.
When Mommy Got Hurt: A Story for Young Children About Domestic Violence, by Ilene Lee and Kathy Sylvester. Charlotte, NC: KIDSRIGHTS, 800-892-5437; FAX 704-5410113. A child tells a story about parents fighting, about how the mother and child leave to live somewhere safe, and about the conversations the mother has with the child afterward. The story focuses on four points: violence is wrong, it is not the child's fault, it happens in many families, and it's OK to talk about it. Ages 3-9.
Videos for Helping Children With Family Violence
Kids' Stuff combines drawings and puppet animation to convey the emotional conflicts of a child living in a violent home. Intense and powerful. Ages 6-10; length, 6 minutes.
The Crown Prince video depicts the feelings and frustrations of two sons of a battered woman. The film explores issues related to student disclosure to a teacher. Ages 10-12; 38 minutes.
Above distributed by: National Film Board of Canada, 350 North Pennsylvania Avenue, P.O. Box 7600, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773; 800-542-2164
Tell 'Em How You Feel is the story of a child who feels all alone and angry at his parents and best friend. A friendly troll teaches him how to appropriately handle anger and conflict. Ages 4-9; 18 minutes.
What Tadoo With Fear explores, with the help of puppets, both the positive and negative aspects of fear. It also gives real-life examples of children conquering fear and opening up to trustworthy adults. Ages 4-9; 20 minutes.
It's Not Always Happy at My House traces the consequences for three children of their mother's abuse. Ages 7-14; 33 minutes.
Above distributed by: MTI Film and Video, 108 Wilmont Road, Deerfield IL 60015; 800-621-2131
Secret Wounds: Working With Child Observers of Family Violence is made up of two segments. The first is for the adults working with these children; the second has animated vignettes based on drawings by children who have witnessed battering. The children speak about their experiences in voiceover. Leader's guide and reproducible activity sheets are included. Ages 5-13; 8 vignettes, 1-4 minutes each, $95 + $4 shipping. Distributed by: Benerjee Associates, 2 Sycamore, Skillman NJ 08558; 609-683-1261
It's NOT Okay: Let's Talk About Domestic Violence is narrated by Fred Savage, who speaks about domestic violence: what it is, its effects on children, and what to do to stay safe. Ages 7-12, 10 minutes, $15 + $3.95 shipping. Distributed by: ABA Publications, 750 N. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60611;312-988-5522;www.abanet.org/domviol/home.html
Tulip Doesn't Feel Safe validates the feelings of children who witness parents or other significant adults fighting, and gives them strategies for staying safe. Ages 4-8, 12 minutes. Distributed by: Johnson Institute, 7205 Ohms Lane, Minneapolis, MN 55439-2159; 800-231-5165; www.johnsoninstitute.com
Domestic Violence Resources for Teachers, Social Workers, and Counselors
National Domestic Violence Hot Line; 800-799-SAFE; TDD 800-787-3224; FAX 512-453-8541; 3616 Far West Boulevard, Suite 101 - 297, Austin, TX 78731-3074. This nationwide database stores current information on domestic violence and other emergency shelters, legal advocacy and assistance programs, and social service programs. The hot line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to offer help and information (in English or Spanish) on such topics as: crisis intervention, referrals, child abuse, sexual assault, intervention programs for batterers, and working through the criminal justice system. The hot line also has access to translators in 139 other languages, as well as published materials in a variety of languages.
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence; 800-5372238; TTY 800-553-2508; FAX 717-545-9456; 6400 Flank Drive, Suite 1300, Harrisburg, PA 17112-2778. Provides comprehensive information, resources, and technical assistance designed to enhance community response to, and prevention of, domestic violence.
Boulder County Safe House; 303-449-8623; FAX 303-4490169; 835 North Street, Boulder, CO 80304. Publishes teachers' and parents' versions of the guidebook We Can't Play at My House-Children and Domestic Violence, both of which are also available in Spanish. These booklets discuss the effects of domestic violence on children, and offer ideas and hope for change. They cost $3 each, plus $1.40 shipping for 1-7 booklets. Also available are the Choices and Change curriculum and the People Like Me video.
Hunter House Inc.; 800-266-5592; FAX 510-865-4295; P.O. Box 2914, Alameda, CA 94501-0914. Publishes books, curricula and videos for counselors, social workers, and educators who work with both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. Includes the curriculum packages Helping Teens Stop Violence and Human Rights for Children, and the video My Girl, which covers violence among teenagers. Living With My Family, a workbook for children from violent homes, is part of the excellent series of Growth and Recovery workbooks created by Wendy Deaton and Kendall Johnson, and also is available through this publisher.
Kidsrights; 800-892-5437; FAX 704-541-0113; 10100 Park Cedar Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210. Kidsrights defines itself as "Publishers and Distributors of Materials About Children's Moral and Legal Rights." These materials include books and videos specific to helping children with issues of abuse. Titles include: When Mommy Got Hurt--A Story for Young Children About Domestic Violence, and Children's Domestic Abuse Program, a small-group curriculum for children who are victims of domestic violence.
Kids in Progress, Inc.; 2749 3rd Street, Eau Claire, WI 54703. Sells the board game Family Happenings, which addresses family violence, grief, divorce, adoption, and blended families. It is suitable for ages 7 to adolescence.
Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women; 612-646-6177; FAX 612-646-1527; 1619 Dayton Avenue, Suite 303, St. Paul, MN 55104. Publishes a diverse selection of books, workbooks, posters, manuals, and handouts, including the curricula: My Family and Me, Violence-Free; Kids Workbook on Family Violence; and Skills for Violence-Free Relationships. MCBW's curricula educate children about domestic violence, promote conflict resolution, and challenge the social messages that contribute to the acceptance and perpetuation of domestic violence.
Research Press Educational Materials Catalog; 800-5192707; FAX 217-352-1221; Dept 961, P.O. Box 9177, Champaign, IL 61826. Publishes excellent books and video programs for educators and clinicians, but lacks materials specific to children who are victims of domestic violence. Curricula and guides focus on skills-building, specifically peer helping, assertiveness, problem-solving, violence prevention, drug abuse, and parenting.
Volcano Press; 800-879-9636; FAX 209-296-4995; P.O. Box 270, Volcano, CA 95689-0270. Publishes manuscripts and videos for physicians, social workers, and educators who work with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. Includes the titles Sourcebook for Working With Battered Women, Dating Violence, In Love and In Danger: A Teen's Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships, and What Parents Need To Know About Dating Violence.
World Wide Web
Higher Education Center Against Violence and Abuse: www.mincava.umn.edu
Domestic Violence Section of the Metro Nashville Police Department: www.telalink.net/~police/abuse/
Family Violence Prevention Fund: www.igc.apc.org/fund/
Shattered Love, Broken Lives: www.s-t.com/projects/DomVio/domviohome.HTML
Sexual Harassment and Violence Against Women: feminist.com/sexual.htm
U.S. Government "Violence Against Women": Related Websites: www.usdoj.gov/vawo/fedweb.htm
Margaret Kearney, MSW, CISW, is a clinical social worker in private practice in Phoenix, Arizona, and is President of the Arizona Association for Play Therapy.
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