CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT
Objective: This article reviews the literature concerning the impact of exposure to domestic violence on the health and developmentalwell-being of children and young people. Impact is explored across four separate yet inter-related domains (domestic violence exposure and child abuse; impact on parental capacity; impact on child and adolescent development; and exposure to additional adversities), with potential outcomes and key messages concerning best practice responses to children’s needs highlighted.
Method: A comprehensive search of identified databases was conducted within an 11-year framework (1995–2006). This yielded a vast literature whichwas selectively organized and analyzed according to the four domains identified above.
Results: This review finds that children and adolescents living with domestic violence are at increased risk of experiencing emotional, physical and sexual abuse, of developing emotional and behavioral problems and of increased exposure to the presence of other adversities in their lives. It also highlights a range of protective factors that can mitigate against this impact, in particular a strong relationship with and attachment to a caring adult, usually the mother.
Conclusion: Children and young people may be significantly affected by living with domestic violence, and impact can endure even after measures have been taken to secure their safety. It also concludes that there is rarely a direct causal pathway leading to a particular outcome and that children are active in constructing their own social world. Implications for interventions suggest that timely, appropriate and individually tailored responses need to build on the resilient blocks in the child’s life.
Practice implications: This study illustrate the links between exposure to domestic violence, various forms of child abuse and other related adversities, concluding that such exposure may have a differential yet potentially deleterious impact for children and young people. From a resilient perspective this review also highlights range of protective factors that influence the extent of the impact of exposure and the subsequent outcomes for the child. This review advocates for a holistic and child-centered approach to service delivery, derived froman informed assessment, designed to capture a picture of the individual child’s experience, and responsive to their individual needs.
WORKING WITH MEN TO PREVENT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
There is a growing awareness that men, in partnership with women, can play a significant role in ending violence against women. This has led to an increase in programs and activities that focus on men’s roles in preventing violence against women. Men’s anti-violence programs are informed by the understanding that violence against women hurts women and men and that men can have an important influence on reducing violence by changing their own attitudes and behavior and by intervening to prevent other men’s violence.
This paper provides an overview of current efforts involving men in the prevention of violence against women. Part One discusses men’s role in prevention, what is effective in men’s prevention, and cultural issues and considerations in working with men. Part Two discusses best practices in prevention, provides an overview of different program modalities and formats, and reviews pedagogies that can be used in working with men to prevent violence against women.
Prevention programs can take the form of workshops that meet one or more times, social marketing and social norms marketing campaigns, and public events. These activities are based on the understanding that male intimate violence is gendered and they share a number of common assumptions: that men have a role in preventing violence against women, that men need to be invited to be partners in solving the problem, that small, interactive-all male groups facilitated by men are particularly effective, that positive anti-violence values and actions of men need to be strengthened, and that men must work in collaboration with women in these efforts.
The literature evaluating these programs is limited, with the majority of research conducted on sexual assault prevention programs for college students and dating violence programs for students in high schools and middle schools. The college literature suggests that for young adult men all-male programs facilitated by other men using an interactive discussion format are the most powerful form of intervention for changing men’s violence-prone attitudes and possibly behaviors. Younger high-school and middle school dating violence programs offered in mixed gender contexts have been found effective in changing attitudes and behaviors, but these formats have not been compared with all-male formats to determine their relative efficacy as has been done with college men. There is also preliminary evidence supporting the efficacy of social norms media interventions to address men’s violence.
It is important that men who provide these programs work to develop strong alliances and accountable relationships with women doing this work, and that they examine how male privilege and sexism may impact their leadership. It is also necessary that prevention programs be designed which are relevant to the variety of men’s communities that exist based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, and other identities.
Successful prevention programs are comprehensive, relevant, intensive, incorporate positive messages, and may employ one or more of the following strategies: fostering empathy towards victims, changing individual men’s attitudes and behaviors, teaching men to intervene against other men’s behavior, and using social marketing strategies to foster positive norms.