1. What does the research tell us about the impact and the effects of family violence on young children?
2. What particular difficulties are faced by children in dealing with family violence?
3. Describe some of the policies and programs that have been devised, in Australia and elsewhere, targeting the young children.
You are also expected to recommend at least one new policy or practice or change to existing policy and practice that would support and assist the children who experience family violence.
The outcry for child protection has emerged as a priority in ensuring that they develop to healthy adults. One of the elements that affect child development is family violence. As much as the kid may not be the part of the argument , it affects him or her as research has shown. This paper looks into the plight of children in family violence and derives an improvement that should be done on the current policies to eradicate the violence or at least keep it away from the children.
According to a research by NSW Parenting center (2002), children are adversely affected by family violence. The effect and impact goes from social, emotional, behavioral and psychological dimensions of the child. Separation of the parent becomes a heavy burden for the children to bear, even though in most cases, they are used to threaten the mother during confrontations . Complications and risk come about especially when there is a shared parenting arrangement which will force the child to spend time with the violent parent (The Benevolent Society, 2011). In the behavioral impairments, it means that the child will have a problem interacting and connecting with others.
In most cases, the children are also probably going to use violence either on peers or siblings since the vice is justified from the parents (Bannock County, n.d). Additionally, the children are at higher risk of becoming depressed, suicidal, teenage prostitutes and drug and substance abusers just to name a few as means to drown themselves into forgetting the realities of their world. At times, the effects may spill over into the child’s adulthood if not taken care of causing the above and self-identity problems and problems in getting relationships and there is a probability they will have problems in their own marriages.
Children face several difficulties when dealing with family violence. First, the inability of the children to intervene makes them retreat and develop fear. Since most family violence cases end up in separation of the spouses, the children to not experience the love of a whole family unit and it becomes worse when there will be parental sharing and the child has to be seeing both parents. Thirdly, counselling for this particular group is hard considering they prefer not to talk about the incidences. Another dynamic view about the family violence and the difficulties is the extent to which the violence will affect the life of the child. It is actually hard because the extent to which the family violence has affected the child may not be visible all at ones. It gives the intervention and mitigation of serious effects a challenge (Lauriers, 2007).
Accessing services for the treatment of some of the damage done to the children is hard at times (National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2009). The children are not in a position to self-diagnose and take action which in this case is going for counselling (Mitchell, 2011). It, therefore, eliminates them as the probable initiators of intervention. Cases of family violence are most likely manifested in the school life of the child where the child is observed by the teacher to show some of the probable symptoms. This may prompt an intervention from that point. Most families with violence do not take the children for counselling until the problem has become enormous or until the spouse have been separated and they now have the opportunity to address the issues faced by the children. To the outside world, the family would like to appear normal and the intervention is left on neighbors who may notice the challenges the children may be facing or the teacher who spends time and monitors the development of the child from an educational and social aspect in the school.
Arguably, the issues that the children face have been exposed through external personnel who observe the development of the children (NSW Government, 2010). In most cases, the teachers note the child’s behavior and may probe to know what exactly the problem is. From this, the decades of research have emerged and focused on the trickling effect the violence by the parents has on the children. Working from the knowledge of how it has affected the child creates an avenue to create lasting solutions that will correct the damage done. Continuous improvement has been realized through sharing of research and experiences in the field to the point of having agencies dealing with such matters and specializing in how to handle the effects (Department of communities, child safety and disability services, 2012).
In Australia, the government realizes that, indeed, the cases of family violence go unreported and their effects have become something that needs to be addressed (National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2008). By forming fundamental principles that revolve around family violence, strategies and programs have been developed to combat the vice. Policies have been formulated to ensure there is reporting and that the problem is catered for at an early stage. Some of the policies in Australia include: Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW), Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic), Children and Young People Act 2008 (ACT), Restraining Orders Act, 1997 (WA), Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 1989 (Qld), Family Violence Act 2004 (Tas), Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 (SA), Care and Protection of Children Act 2007 (NT), Children, Young persons and their Families Act 1997 (Tas) and the Domestic and Family Violence Act 2007 (NT) (Australian Government, 2011; National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2009).
For instance, there should be a policy that indicates exposing children to family violence as a form of child abuse and both parents will be prosecuted as a new policy in Australia. That way, they will find amicable solutions to their problems. This will save the children from the trauma and finally create room for intervention that will make the parents able to communicate and solve their problems. That is to say, such a policy should be coupled with programs that help parents to have problem solving skills that will avoid affecting the child and splitting up the family eventually. Interventions in the current systems need to be kept in check since the time of intervention actually affects the results that will be realized. Most of the policies that exist revolve around making sure that the perpetrators of family violence are punished for the crimes (Government of Western Australia, 2009). Other policies concentrate on making sure that the child is taken care of after the incidences of family violence. They are all good, but there need to be more attempts to prevent the child from getting exposed to the violence in the first place. As research has shown, the effects can be huge.
The implementation of this polcicy is critical because,when solving the family violence problem in regards to its effects on children, it is best to treat the root cause which is the source of violence. If the parents can be made to avoid exposing the child, problems will be solved using non-violent means. Hence the proposal to make exposing children to violence an abuse of the child rights will be a good way to start the process. For every child that is exposed to family violence, there is a chance that the child will have sediments of the actions that he or she witnessed. Even with counselling, the results may not always ensure full recovery (Marcus & Braff, 2007). However, to be effective as aforementioned there are other programs that need to be rolled out to give the parents a means of communicating and solving their problems.
In conclusion, the research has shown that, indeed, the effects of family violence affect the life of a child to a great extent (Carrington & Phillips, 2003). It is imperative that solutions to the matter have a means of reducing the occurrence instead of punishing offenders and ensuring that victims are taken care of. Such policies include making exposure to such violence a crime. Parents should have other means of solving their problems rather than resulting to use violence. That is one of the challenges that should be catered for as the part of the package to ensure children have peace of mind and are raised in happy united families (Drabsch, 2007). It will help them grow in all aspects. In addition to this, the intervention that is done should not be delayed since the child gets more affected when the exposure is for too long and no action is taken.
Australian Government. (2011). Children’s exposure to domestic violence in Australia. Accessed on June 1, 2014 from http://aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/tandi_pdf/tandi419.pdf
Bannock County. (n.d). The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children. Accessed on June 1, 2014 from http://www.bannockcounty.us/dv/DV_and_Children_Facts.pdf
Carrington, K and Phillips, J. (2003). Domestic Violence in Australia: An Overview of the Issues E brief. on line issued 7th August 2003, updated by Janet Phillips September 2006 Social Policy Group, Canberra.
Department of communities, child safety and disability services. (2012). Domestic and family violence and its relationship to child protection. Accessed on June 1, 2014 from http://www.communities.qld.gov.au/resources/childsafety/practice-manual/prac-paper-domestic-violence.pdf
Drabsch, T (2007). Domestic Violence in NSW. NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service Briefing Paper No 7/07
Government of Western Australia. (2009). WA Strategic plan for family and domestic violence. Accessed on June 1, 2014 from http://www.dcp.wa.gov.au/CrisisAndEmergency/FDV/Documents/WAStrategicPlanforFamilyandDomesticViolence.pdf
Lauriers, J.D. (2007). The child protection systems’ response to domestic violence. Accessed on June 1, 2014 from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/16620/1/Julie_Des_Lauriers_Thesis.pdf
Marcus, G and Braff, R (2007). Domestic and Family Violence Studies, Surveys and Statistics. Stakeholder Paper 1 Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse.
Mitchell, L. (2011). Domestic Violence in Australia: An overview of the issues. Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliament of Australia.
National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2009). Background Paper to Time for Action. The National Council’s Plan for Australia to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, 2009¬2021
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National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children (2009). Domestic violence laws in Australia. Accessed June 1, 2014 from http://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/domestic_violence_laws_in_australia_-_june_2009.pdf
NSW Government, (2010). Stop the Violence: End the Silence NSW Domestic and Family Violence Action Plan. Office for Women’s Policy, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.
NSW Parenting center. (2002). Domestic violence and its impact on children’s development. Accessed on June 1, 2014 from http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/docswr/_assets/main/documents/dv_paper.pdf
The Benevolent Society. (2011). The impact of domestic violence on children: A literature review. Accessed on June 1, 2014 from http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/documents/ImpactofDVonChildren.pdf