Laws And Policies That Address Children’s Exposure To Domestic Violence

2714 words - 11 pages

Laws and Policies that Address Children’s Exposure to Domestic Violence

Laws and Policies that address children’s exposure to domestic violence

Despite the high rates of violence against women and the recent attention to the physical and emotional consequences of this abuse, until recently relatively little attention had been given to the unseen victims—the children. More than half the female victims of domestic violence live in a household with children under the age of 12.Greenfield (1998).
Research suggests that between 3.3 million and 10 million children in the United States are exposed to domestic violence each year and more than a decade of empirical studies indicates that ...view middle of the document...

Though domestic violence cuts across the economic spectrum, poor families are more likely to be affected. Current research indicates that in 30% to 60% of families experiencing either domestic violence or child maltreatment, the other form of violence is also present. Fantuzzo(1997)
In response to the growing awareness of the potential harm to children exposed to domestic violence, policymakers are devoting increased attention to this issue, and several states have passed legislation, especially in the family law area, designed to improve outcomes for children exposed to domestic violence. Legal-system interventions include responses by law enforcement personnel to calls of domestic violence, probation services for batterers, prosecution of criminal cases, and court decision making. These systems have been slow to recognize and respond to the presence of domestic violence in their caseloads, but many states now have laws and protocols to improve responses. Several new law enforcement and court programs address the impact of domestic violence on children. Law enforcement departments in several locales throughout the country have initiated specific programs to improve interventions, including cooperative arrangements with mental health professionals who, upon notification by police, appear at the scene of the domestic violence incident to assist child and adult victims. Other strategies include police report documentation of a child’s presence in the home, which automatically qualifies the child for state victims of crime funding for support services, and specialized training in child development for law enforcement personnel.
Domestic violence issues appear in all areas of the judicial system, including criminal court, juvenile court, family court, and other civil courts. Despite the recent use in several locales of innovative approaches to handle these cases, there is still widespread.


misunderstanding by judges and other court personnel about domestic violence and its
potential impact on children. Keilitz(1997). New programs provide training on domestic violence issues to judges, child advocates, mental health professionals, and other court personnel, offer coordinated, cross-agency responses to cases involving both domestic violence and child maltreatment; utilize specialized domestic violence courts; or have a one-family, one-judge approach in which one judge hears all civil and criminal cases involving a particular family. To
be effective, innovative court approaches should include comprehensive training for all court personnel, access to a wide range of family services, and supportive court administrative practices. Ross (1998). Judges can play an important leadership role in encouraging
coordinated responses for children affected by domestic violence.
Federal and state policies in a wide range of areas affecting families may potentially have an impact on children exposed to domestic violence. These include, at the federal...

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