From the 25th of November to the 10th of December, UN women are running a campaign entitled ’16 days of Activism against Gender Based violence’. (UN Women, 2016)
“Domestic and/or sexual violence is the threat or use of physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse in close adult relationships.” (Tusla.ie, 2016) As domestic and/or sexual violence is one of the most damaging forms of destructive conflicts it has many severe impacts on children, some of which we may not be aware of.
“Children who believe they are the cause of their parent’s arguments may develop low self-esteem and feel unable to cope with conflict at home and outside of the family” (Reynolds et al., n.d.)
“Children are particularly troubled by physical violence and it is the form of aggression most clearly linked with adjustment problems.” (Harold, Pryor and Reynolds, 2001) These problems can include; behavioural difficulties, emotional problems, issues getting along with others, diminished academic achievement and partaking in behaviours that are a threat to good health such as drinking and smoking in early adolescence.
Front-line practitioners, by nature, are in a position of trust with each client and therefore may be confided in if domestic and or/sexual violence is an issue for an individual. It is absolutely vital that these practitioners are trained and equipped to respond appropriately to clients at these key moments.
It is not adequate to offer advice such as ‘get out of there’ which although well-intentioned can often lead to more problems.
A guide for general practitioners developed by the Domestic Violence Resource Centre, Victoria for responding to family violence is available here. This provides some useful tips for communicating with both victims and perpetrators of violence in a family, as disclosures of abuse may come from either side.
Follow the campaign on social media using #orangetheworld and #16days. Visit the Un Women website here to find out more about the campaign, and to support this year’s call to action which is to raise money to end violence against women.
We will also be updating our own Twitter feed with events and updates we come across during the 16 days.
Dvrcv.org.au. (2016). Guide for General Practitioners | Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria. [online] Available at: http://www.dvrcv.org.au/publications/books-and-reports/guide-for-general-practitioners [Accessed 24 Nov. 2016].
Harold, G., Pryor, J. and Reynolds, J. (2001). Not in front of the children?. 1st ed. London: One Plus One Marriage & Partnership Research.
Reynolds, J., Houlston, C., Coleman, L. and Harold, G. (n.d.). Parental conflict. 1st ed. p.41.
Tusla.ie. (2016). Domestic, Sexual & Gender Based Violence Services | Tusla – Child and Family Agency. [online] Available at: http://www.tusla.ie/services/domestic-sexual-gender-based-violence [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].
UN Women. (2016). Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. [online] Available at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism [Accessed 23 Nov. 2016].