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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: Child
In order to obtain accurate and reliable information from a child regarding a domestic violence situation, it is critical that the language and questions are appropriate for the child's age and developmental stage. Training and experience in working with young children in particular may be necessary.
1. Types and frequency of exposure to domestic violence.
- What kinds of things do mom and dad (or girlfriend or boyfriend) fight about?
- What happens when they argue?
- Do they yell at each other or call each other bad names?
- Does anyone break or smash things when they get angry? Who?
- Do they hit one another? What do they hit with?
- How does the hitting usually start?
- How often do your mom and dad argue or hit?
- Have the police ever come to your home? Why?
- Have you ever seen your mom or dad get hurt? What happened?
2. Risks posed by the domestic violence.
- Have you ever been hit or hurt when mom and dad (or girlfriend or boyfriend) are fighting?
- Has your brother or sister ever been hit or hurt during a fight?
- What do you do when they start arguing or when someone starts hitting?
- Has either your mom or dad hurt your pet?
3. Impact of exposure to domestic violence.
- Do you think about mom and dad (or girlfriend or boyfriend) fighting a lot?
- Do you think about it when you are at school, while you're playing, when you're by yourself?
- How does the fighting make you feel?
- Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night? Why? Do you have nightmares? If so, what are they about?
- Why do you think they fight so much?
- What would you like them to do to make it better?
- Are you afraid to be at home? To leave home?
- What or who makes you afraid?
- Do you think it's okay to hit when you're angry? When is it okay to hit someone?
- How would you describe your mom? How would you describe your dad?
4. Protective factors.
- What do you do when mom and dad (or girlfriend or boyfriend) are fighting?
- If the child has difficulty responding to an open-ended question, the worker can ask if the child has:
- Stayed in the room
- Left or hidden
- Gotten help
- Gone to an older sibling
- Asked parents to stop
- Tried to stop the fighting
- Have you ever called the police when your parents are fighting?
- Have you ever talked to anyone about your parent's fighting?
- Is there an adult you can talk to about what's happening at home?
- What makes you feel better when you think about your parent's fighting?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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