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Home > Practice Areas > Domestic Violence > About the Program


Domestic Violence: About this Area of Focus

Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

Violence against women and children is centuries old, but only over the past 25 years have communities made significant improvements in their responses to each problem.

In the 1970s, state legislatures created systems to help abused children, and by the 1980s many grassroots women's organizations had set up shelters for battered women. These two response systems were designed with very different mandates, funding, and goals. As a result, tensions and problems now emerge as service providers, the courts, and communities try to more effectively help those families in which violence against women and children is overlapping and intertwined.

Domestic violence advocates have learned that the concerns of battered women are inextricably linked to the welfare of their children and that the safety decisions of battered women are typically guided by the needs of their children. As a result, domestic violence organizations have worked hard to address the needs of the children of battered women, including providing a variety of concrete services like children's play and educational groups, support activities, and therapeutic services. Advocates have also broadened the scope of their work to include case-level and systemic advocacy for children.

For more information about this initiative, you can download the following paper which provides both background information and a framework for collaboration with child protection agencies that will support the work of domestic violence advocates as they try to improve safety for women and their children. Click below:
"Building Bridges Between Domestic Violence Organizations and Child Protective Services"
(PDF; requires Adobe Reader.)

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