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Child Protection in Families Experiencing Domestic Violence
Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, Children's Bureau., Caliber Associates. Bragg, H. Lien.|
|Year Published: 2003|
Domestic Violence Assessment: Victim
Do not initiate an assessment with a series of rapid fire, personal questions, which can be intimidating and off-putting. The caseworker should talk with the victim about his or her situation, which helps engage the victim in the process. It is important to ask specific questions, however, to determine the level of domestic violence affecting the victim.
1. Types and patterns of abusive tactics.
- Controlling, coercive, and threatening tactics
- Does your partner prevent you from visiting friends and family?
- Does your partner prevent you from going to school or work?
- Does your partner tell you what to wear, what to do, where you can go, or whom you can talk to?
- Does your partner control the household income?
- Does your partner follow you to "check up" on you or check the mileage on your car?
- Does your partner telephone you constantly while you are at work or home?
- Does your partner give you threatening looks or stares when he does not agree with something you said or did?
- Verbal, emotional, sexual, or physical abuse
- Does your partner call you degrading names, put you down, or humiliate you in public or in front of friends or family?
- Does your partner blame you or tell you that you are at "fault" for the abuse or any problems you are having?
- Does your partner deny or minimize his abusive behaviors towards you?
- Has your partner ever destroyed your personal possessions? Broken or destroyed household items?
- Has your partner ever pushed, kicked, slapped, punched, or choked you?
- Has your partner ever threatened to kill or harm himself, you, the children, or a pet?
- Has your partner ever threatened you with a weapon or gun? Does your partner have access to a dangerous weapon or gun?
- Has your partner ever been arrested for a violent crime or behaved violently in public?
- Has your partner ever forced you to commit illegal activities, use illegal drugs, or abuse alcohol?
- Has your partner ever forced you to engage in unwanted sexual activity or practices (e.g., pornography, multiple sexual partners, prostitution)?
2. Risks and impact on the adult victim.
- How has your partner's abusive behavior affected you?
- Do you suffer from anxiety or depression?
- Do you have difficulty sleeping, eating, concentrating, etc.?
- Do you suffer from headaches, stomachaches, breathing difficulties, or other health problems?
- Have you had to seek medical assistance for injuries or health problems resulting from your partner's violence?
- Have you been physically assaulted during pregnancy? Have you suffered prenatal problems or a miscarriage as a result of the abuse?
- Do you abuse alcohol or other substances?
- Have you ever been hospitalized for a mental illness? Do you have a mental health diagnosis? Are you taking psychotropic medication?
- Have you ever thought about or tried to hurt yourself or someone else?
3. Risks and impact on the children.
- Has your partner called your children degrading names or verbally threatened them?
- Has your partner ever threatened to make a report to CPS, take custody of the children, or kidnap the children?
- Does your partner physically discipline or touch the children in a manner that you don't agree with or that makes you uncomfortable?
- Has your partner ever asked the children to report your daily activities or to "spy" on you?
- Has your partner ever forced your children to watch or participate in his abuse of you?
- Has your partner physically hurt you in front of the children?
- How do you think the violence at home affects your children?
- Do your children exhibit problems at school or at home (e.g., sleeping and eating difficulties, difficulty concentrating in school, aggressive behaviors)?
- Have your children ever intervened in a physical or verbal assault to protect you or to stop the violence?
- Do your children behave in ways that remind you of your partner?
- Has a school or daycare center ever contacted you regarding behavioral problems of your children?
4. Help seeking and protective strategies.
- Have you told anyone about the abuse? What happened?
- Have you ever left home because of the abuse? Where did you go and what happened?
- Have you ever called the police or 911? What was their response?
- Have you ever filed a restraining order or criminal charges? What was your partner's response?
- Have you ever used a domestic violence shelter or services? Was it helpful?
- Have you fought back? What happened?
- How do you survive the abuse?
- What have you tried to keep you and your children safe from your partner?
- What has made it difficult for you to keep you and your children safe?
- How will your partner react if he finds out you talked with me?1
1 Ganley, A. L., & Schechter, S. (1996). Domestic violence: A national curriculum for child protective services. San Francisco, CA: Family Violence Prevention Fund; Massachusetts Department of Social Services' Domestic Violence Protocol. (1995). Unpublished practice protocol, Massachusetts Department of Social Services, Boston, MA; Bragg. L. (1998). Domestic violence protocol for child protective services intervention. Charlotte, NC: Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. back
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