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We Can't Play at My House: Children and Domestic Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
20 pages
This guidebook for parents of children who have experienced verbal or physical domestic violence in the home examines how children feel about and respond to violence.
Quotations from children seen at the Boulder County Safehouse for Battered Women in Colorado illustrate children's perceptions of domestic violence. Explanation of these perceptions are provided. Behaviors that indicate that children need help in dealing with domestic violence are described for children of differing ages. These include sleep disturbances, somatic symptoms, school phobia, truancy, and aggressiveness. Simple activities that parents can do to help children deal with the effects of family violence are listed in a series of 'do' and 'don't' statements. Guidelines are provided for developing a personal safety plan in homes where violence is ongoing. Also included is an assessment instrument for determining if the family should seek help with its problems. Finally, basic facts about the incidence, causes, effects, and cycle/stages of domestic violence are presented. Community resources are included. 5 selected readings for children and 6 for adults.