This page features a combination of local resources from Harriet's House with additional information from the Alabama Coalition for Domestic Violence.
Department of Human Resources: Provides list of licensed
day care homes.
Greene County: 372-5000
Child Care management Agency: Takes applications for
free and sliding scale fee daycare.
All Counties: 289-5655 or 1-800-699-5655
Domestic violence affects every member of the family, including the
children. Family violence creates a home environment where children live
in constant fear. Children who witness family violence are affected in ways similar to
children who are physically abused. They are often unable to establish
nurturing bonds with either parent Children are at greater risk for abuse
and neglect if they live in a violent home.
Statistics show that over 3 million
children witness violence in their home each year. Those who see and hear
violence in the home suffer physically and emotionally.
under stress produce children under stress. If a spouse is being abused and
there are children in the home, the children are affected by the abuse"
(Ackerman and Pickering, 1989).
of domestic violence are unhealthy for children:
Children react to their
environment in different ways, and reactions can vary depending on the
child's gender and age.
- control of family by one
- abuse of a parent.
- protecting the "family
exposed to family violence are more likely to develop social, emotional,
psychological and or behavioral problems than those who are not. Recent
research indicates that children who witness domestic violence show more
anxiety, low self esteem, depression, anger and temperament problems than
children who do not witness violence in the home. The trauma they
experience can show up in emotional, behavioral, social and physical
disturbances that effect their development and can continue into adulthood.
- Grief for family and
- Shame, guilt, and self
- Confusion about conflicting
feelings toward parents.
- Fear of abandonment, or
expressing emotions, the unknown or personal injury.
- Depression and feelings of
helplessness and powerlessness.
- Acting out or withdrawing.
- Aggressive or passive.
- Refusing to go to school.
- Care taking; acting as a
- Lying to avoid
- Rigid defenses.
- Excessive attention
- Bedwetting and nightmares.
- Out of control behavior.
- Reduced intellectual
- Manipulation, dependency,
- Isolation from friends and
- Stormy relationships.
- Difficulty in trusting,
- Poor anger management and
problem solving skills.
- Excessive social
involvement to avoid home.
- Passivity with peers or
- Engaged in exploitative
relationships as perpetrator or victim.
- Somatic complaints,
headaches and stomachaches.
- Nervous, anxious, short
- Tired and lethargic.
- Frequently ill.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Regression in development.
- High risk play.
- Self abuse
Love and Care
children from abusive homes can bring healing to their lives. In giving
needed love and care to children, it is important for a parent to reflect
children's right to have their own feelings, friends, activities and
opinions. Promote independence, allow for privacy and respect their
feelings for the other parent. Believe in them.
Talk and act so
children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves. Be gentle. Be
food, safe shelter and appropriate clothing. Teach personal hygiene and
nutrition. Monitor safety. Maintain a family routine. Attend to wounds.
ensure that rules are appropriate to age and development of the child. Be
clear about limits and expectations. Use discipline to give instruction,
not to punish.
Participate in your
children's lives, in their activities, school, sports, special events,
celebrations and friends. Include your children in your activities. Reveal
who you are to your children.
Encourage children to follow their interests. Let children disagree with
you. Recognize improvement. Teach new skills. Let them make mistakes.
Express verbal and
physical affection. Be affectionate when your children are physically or
personal time. Keep yourself healthy. Maintain friendships. Accept love.
Child Victim/Witness of Domestic Violence
- Basic need for attachment
- Routines around
feeding/sleeping are disturbed.
- Accidental injuries during an abusers violent episodes.
- Irritability or
- Frequent illness.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Developmental delays.
- Lack of responsiveness.
- Somatic or psychosomatic
- Fearful of being alone.
- Extreme separation anxiety.
- Developmental delays.
- Sympathetic toward mother.
- Vacillate between being
eager to please and being hostile.
- Verbal about home life.
- Developmental delays.
- Externalized behavior
- Gender role modeling
- Behavior problems become
- Increased internalized
behavior difficulties: depression, isolation, withdrawal.
- Emotional difficulties:
shame, fear, confusion, rage.
- Poor social skills.
- Developmental delays.
- Protection of mother, sees
her as "weak".
- Guarded/secretive about
- Internalized and
externalized behavior problems can become extreme and dangerous:
drug/alcohol, truancy, gangs, sexual acting out, pregnancy, runaway,
- Dating relationships may
reflect violence learned or witnessed in the home.
From Boulder (CO) County Safehouse
Working with Children
Trust is a major factor
when working with children exposed to domestic violence. Children need a
safe place with an adult they can trust to begin healing.
When first working with
a child, it is helpful to ask what makes her/him feel comfortable and
uncomfortable with adults.
- Listen to children and
provide them with space and respect.
- Let children know you care
about them, that there are adults interested in their opinions,
thoughts and ideas.
- Use books on the subject to
help open children up.
- Use art, music, drama, and
play to help children express themselves.
- Refer children to
professional counselors, as needed.
- Connect children to
organizations in the community that work with youth.
- Help children develop
age-appropriate and realistic safety plans.
- Tell them often that
From the Illinois Coalition Aginst Domestic
Violence newsletter, spring 2000
- Each year an estimated 3.3
million children are exposed to violence against their mothers or
female caretakers by family members. (American Psychological
Association, Violence and the Family: Report of the APA Presidential
Task Force on Violence and the Family,1996)
- Studies show that child
abuse occurs in 30 to 60 percent of family violence cases that involve
families with children. (J.L. Edleson, "The overlap between
child maltreatment and woman battering." Violence Against Women,
- A survey of 6,000 American
families found that 50 percent of men who assault their wives, also
abuse their children. (Pagelow, "The Forgotten Victims:
Children of Domestic Violence," 1989)
- Research shows that 80 to
90 percent of children living in homes where there is domestic
violence are aware of the violence. (Pagelow, "Effects of
Domestic Violence on Children," Mediation Quarterly, 1990)
- A number one predictor of
child abuse is woman abuse. (Stark and Flitcraft, "Women at
Risk: A Feminist Perspective on Child Abuse," International
Journal of Health Services, 1988)
- The more severe the abuse
of the mother, the worse the child abuse. (Bowker, Arbitell, and
McFerron, "On the Relationship Between Wife Beating and Child
Abuse," Perspectives on Wife Abuse, 1988)
- Some 80 percent of child
fatilities within the family are attributable to fathers or father
surrogates. (Bergman, Larsen and Mueller, "Changing Spectrum
of Serious Child Abuse," Pediatrics, 1986)
- In families where the
mother is assaulted by the father, daughters are at risk of sexual
abuse 6.51 times greater than girls in non-abusive families (Bowker,
Arbitell and McFerron, 1988)
- A child's exposure to the
father abusing the mother is the strongest risk fact for transmitting
violent behavior from one generation to the next (American
Psychological Association, Violence and the Family: Report of the APA
Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family,1996)
- Male children who witness
the abuse of mothers by fathers are more likely to become men who
batter in adulthood than those male children from homes free of
violence (Rosenbaum and O'Leary, "Children: The Unintended
Victims of Marital Violence," American Journal of
- Older children are
frequently assaulted when they intervene to defend or protect their
mothers. (Hilberman and Munson, "Sixty Battered Women,"
Victimology: An International Journal, 1977-78)
- In a 36-month study of 146
children, ages 11-17 who came from homes where there was domestic
violence, all sons over the age of 14 attempted to protect their
mothers from attacks. Some 62 percent were injured in the process. (Roy,