Working With Child Observers of Family Violence.
Children who witness domestic violence, but are not direct victims of the violence, may be forgotten. During family crises, or even during the "honeymoon" phase of the domestic violence cycle, attention is generally focused on the adult victim, the perpetrator, or even children who are directly abused, but rarely on children simply because they are observers.
Perhaps one third of America's children have witnessed or are aware of violence between their parents or among family members to whom they should be able to look for care and protection. All children would benefit from learning what family violence is and is not and what ways it can effect their lives or that of their friends. This model curriculum consists of two modules on a single videotape, a Leader's Guide and Activity Sheets which can be reproduced for use by children as part of professional intervention.
Part I: A Guide for Helping Professionals introduces issues regarding children in domestically violent families. Insights are provided into both short and long range needs of these children. The video includes a view of the problem from a family court judge, an informative discussion among helping professionals, and recollections from an adult who had been a child observer of violence in the home. Part I also introduces Part II and gives suggestions for its use with children, individually or in groups.
Part II: Working With Child Observers of Family Violence contains eight animated vignettes based on drawings by child observers (1-4 minutes each). The children's voices are heard discussing their experiences. The Leader's Guide and Activity Sheets provide supportive materials to enable the vignettes to be used directly with children to address the following topics:
- Labeling feelings
- Social isolation
- Safety skills
- Not being unique
- Ownership of problem
In-service training for:
- Social Workers
- Mental Health Professionals
- Court Personnel
Direct Intervention and Family Life Education
- Children ages 6-13 years.
Note: With minor modifications, video and materials can be used with younger children.