Domestic Violence
Nicole Huff, LCSW
Bay Area Academy
Nicole Huff
August 2007
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Agenda
• Introductions & objectives
• History of spousal violence
• What does the research say?
• Domestic violence
• Domestic violence and children
• Domestic violence and child welfare
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History
*SafeNetwork: California’s Domestic Violence Resource
• 753 B.C.-The Laws of Chastisement
• 1500’s-Lord Hale and the marital rape
exemption
• “Rule of Thumb”
• 1804-Napaleonic Code
• 1800’s America
• 1919-19th Amendment
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History cont.
• 1920’s-Psychoanalysis
• 1960’s-Practice of non-arrest
• 1970’s-Beginning of the Battered Women’s
Movement
• Late 1970’s-Lawsuits against law
enforcement
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History cont.
• 1984-Battered Women’s Syndrome
• 1994-Violence Against Women Act
• 1990’s-Status of marital rape exemption
Where are we today?
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Prevalence
*Center for Disease Control, Injury Center
*A note about data collection
• Nearly 5.3 million incidents against women
and 3.2 million against men a year
• 1.5 million women and 800,000 men
raped and/or physically assaulted
• 2 million injuries and 1,300 deaths
• 85% of victims are women
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Risks
• Battered women
– six times greater risk for drug abuse
– fifteen times greater risk for alcohol abuse.
• Women who abuse drugs/alcohol are more
likely to become victims of domestic violence
(Miller et al., 1989)
• (25%) to (50%) of men who commit violent
acts of DV also have substance abuse
problems
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Higher Risks for Women:
• Partners experienced periodic
unemployment
• Partners did not graduate high school
• Assault by a former partner than her
current partner
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No Higher Risk Association
• Race and ethnicity of men
• Race, ethnicity, age, or education
of women
*Caveat
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Cycle of Violence
Tension Building
Honeymoon
Explosive
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Types of Abuse
• Financial
• Emotional
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Types, cont
• Sexual
• Physical
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Traits of Batterers
• Emotional dependence
• Rigid gender and role expectations
• Violate personal boundaries
• Controlling behaviors
• Jealousy
• Rigid religious or cultural beliefs
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Batterers, cont.
• Hypersensitivity
• Difficulty expressing and/or identifying
feelings
• Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
• Externalize blame
• Cruelty
• History of using violence to solve problems
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Responses/Effects re: Victims
• Stress disorders
• Low self-esteem
• Social isolation
• Feeling hopeless and powerless
• Fear/Terror
• Self-blame
• Anxiety
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Victims, cont.
• Hyper-vigilance
• Dissociation
• Denial/Minimization
• Wishful thinking
• Shame
• Anger
• Engaging in high-risk behaviors
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Why does she stay?
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Assessing Lethality
• Victim’s report
• Use of and/or access to weapons
• Threats of homicide and/or suicide
• Substance abuse
• Extreme jealousy or obsession
• Abuse that involves severe violence
• Recent separation/Change
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Cultural Considerations
• Children of color are over-represented
in all “systems”
• Definitions may be different
• Mistrust of mainstream systems
• Language
• Previous negative experiences with
authorities
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What are the risks if she tells?
What are the risks if she doesn’t
tell?
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Undocumented/Recent Immigrant
• Fear of deportation
• Further isolation
• Language
• Taboos in discussing the family with
strangers
• Shame/dishonor
*VAWA
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Gay, Lesbian, Transgender
• Threats to “out” partners
• Seen as mutual (“cat fight”)
• Reluctance to bring even more negative
attention to community
• No legal process for separation
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Male victims
• Contrary to societal expectations
• Extreme shame
• Discrimination in “systems”
responses
*Be aware of reactive violence and self defense
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Teens
• Societal messages about violence
• Development/Age issues
• Boundaries
• Pressure
• Jealousy & possessiveness
• Exposure to DV
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Elderly
• Traditional responses don’t appeal or meet
needs
• Generation mores
• “Domestic violence grown old”
• New relationship
• Late onset
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Disabled
• Limitations in communications ability
• Dependent on abuser
• Low self esteem/view of self as
“damaged”
• Physically incapable
• Loss of caretaker
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Children and the Numbers
• Between 3.3 and 10 million children
exposed every year
• Slightly more than half of victims of intimate
violence have children in the home
• 79% of violent children witnessed DV
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DV & Children
• 80% of child abuse cases are associated
with the use of alcohol and other drugs
• 43% of child fatalities occur in families where
the mother was abused
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DV & Children
• Daughters of batterers are 6.5 times more likely to
be victims of incest
• 45-70% of cases of domestic violence where there
are children, the children are also abused
• Child abuse by those mothers who have been
beaten is at least double that of mothers whose
husbands did not assault them
• 50% of men who batter their partners also batter
their children
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DV & Child Welfare
• Domestic violence is a significant problem for
30%-40% of families in the Child Welfare
system
• Santa Clara County statistics show 40-80% of
cases involved “overlap”
– 40% had DV issues within the last year
– 80% had DV issues from one or both parties
sometime in their history
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Effects on children
• Of Children who witness their mother
being abused:
• 40% suffer anxiety
• 48% suffer depression
• 53% act out with their parents
• 60% act out with their siblings
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Effects, cont.
• Normalize violence
• Poor impulse control
• Sleep disturbances
• Injury
• Withdrawn
• Delinquent/negative behaviors
• Aggression
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Assessment
• Interview separately
• Patterns in language and behavior
• Always ask the questions, no matter what
the initial allegation is
• Behaviors not buzzwords
• SAFETY
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Assessment cont.
• Assess protective capacities
• Hold each adult accountable to their
own abusive behaviors
• Collateral sources
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Presence of domestic
violence alone is not child
abuse
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Interview Questions
• Interviewing the child
• Interviewing the known/potential victim
• Interviewing the known/potential batterer
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Social Worker’s Role with Children
• Assess and assure their safety
• Reassure them that they are not
responsible for the violence
• Reassure them it is okay to talk about
the violence
• Discuss safety with them as
appropriate
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Social Worker’s Role with Victim
• Reassure her she is not responsible
for the violence occurring or stopping
• Understand her ambivalence
• Determine protective capacities
• Assist in safety planning
• Refer her to appropriate services
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Social Worker’s Role with Batterer
• Hold him responsible for his choosing to
be violent and controlling
• Work with law enforcement to hold him
accountable
• Assess whether he is taking responsibility
for his behavior
• Look for strengths
• Make appropriate referrals
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Batterers’ Tactics
• Presenting himself as the victim
• Statements of remorse and guilt, but no
actions
• Focusing on victim’s faults/Allegations
• Denying & minimizing
• Victim blaming
• Blaming substance abuse
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Can child stay safely with nonoffending parent?
• Protective capacities
• Safe location
• Acknowledge risk to children
• Level of violence-not escalating
• Other issues don’t pose a threat
• Support, services, community
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Low Risk Factors
• Children show minimal damage
• Batterer is out of home or cooperating with
•
•
•
•
•
restraining orders
Batterer takes responsibility for actions
Victim acknowledges risk and has protective
capacities
Family has positive supports
No other risk issues
Minimal/No CPS history
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Restraining/Protective Orders
• Emergency Protective Orders (EPRO)
• Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)
• Permanent Restraining Orders
• No Contact Orders
• Peaceful Contact Orders
*CPS cannot require restraining orders!
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High Risk Factors
• Continued violence despite previous
intervention
• Other types of abuse are present
• Child exhibits concerning behavioral and/or
emotional effects and/or is having issues
functioning
• Child is used as weapon in abuse, is
intervening, is held during incidents, has been
injured
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High Risk cont.
• Other risk factors impacting safety are
present
– Substance abuse
– Mental health
– Child abuse
• Lethality
• Victim does not acknowledge risk
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Service Provision
• Separate services-even if the couple
remains intact
• Team Decision Making/Family Conferences
• Advocates
• Safety Plans (victims)
• Action Plans (batterers)
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Services cont.
• Batterer’s Intervention
• Visitation
• Other services (not substitutes)
– Substance abuse services
– Mental health services
– Psychotropic medication
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Services cont.
• Victim services
– Closed therapeutic group
– Open attendance
– Mandated
• Inappropriate services
– Anger management
– Couple’s counseling
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Who are our partners?
• Law enforcement
• Victim services
• Batterer services
• Probation/Parole
• Judiciary
• Mental health/Substance abuse
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Desired Outcomes
• Safety for victims and children
• Break down victim isolation and provide
support
• Help victim understand
• Provide victim appropriate services
• Assist in batterer receiving services
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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Nicole Huff, MSW, LCSW
[email protected]
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August 2007
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Cycle of Violence