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section 11

Preventing domestic violence

community topics

68 meeting

Let’s review:

Once the meeting starts, welcome everyone and ask the participants: • Who can help us remember what we talked about in our last meeting? • Who was able to do the activity at home that we asked you to do at the end of the meeting? How did it go? • Does anyone have questions or concerns after doing the activity?

What are we going to learn? We are going to learn how to identify and reduce interfamily violence. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! We are going to look at some pictures, so we can talk about what we all know about this topic.

How do you think that domestic violence affects children?

Is there domestic violence in your community? How do you know?

What can you do to reduce the frequency of domestic violence?

section 11 / community topics • meeting 68



“Seeking help when we need it” We are going to identify some community resources that can help to reduce cases of abuse and family violence.

What we’ll need: • Flipchart • Markers

WHAT WE’LL DO: Start by saying that we are often quick to respond when someone has a health, nutritional or financial need. When a family is suffering from abuse and violence, there should be no difference in our response. We should go to them immediately. • Ask the group the following questions: How do we know if there is abuse in a family? What are some signs or symptoms? Write the answers on the flipchart. • Then divide participants into small groups of 3 to 5 people and ask each group to write ideas of how to help families that are suffering from abuse. What institutional or governmental assistance is available? Who can you go to? • Ask each group to share their plan and suggestions with the rest of the group and then discuss them all together. Help the group reach a general consensus about the ways to help a family that is suffering from a violent and abusive situation. Other Suggestions: If there are a lot of abuse cases in the community, get help from organizations that are dedicated to treating or rescuing abused children. Contact one of these organizations and ask for their support to intervene in the affected families.

Summing Up:

What did we learn today? Now, we’ll review what we discussed today. • How do you feel after this meeting? Why? • What are the two most important things you’ve learned today? • What will you do differently based on what you learned during the meeting? • What did you like the most? Are there things you didn’t like? • Do you have any remaining concerns or questions about what we talked about? To finish, what would you recommend to improve today’s meeting when we do it again with another group. (Explain that answering this question will help the meeting be even better in the future for parents with small children.)

Facilitator’s Manual


To do at home:

Tell participants to promise to treat family members with love and respect and to share what was learned at the meeting with their family and others.

Basic information for the facilitator: Learning more about preventing domestic violence: 1- Speaking up about abuse:

• Domestic violence is a serious problem in many households and can have serious negative effects on young children. But, often this is a difficult topic to address with parents, because it feels shameful. Most parents will not talk about abuse unless there is a sense of trust and confidentiality when discussing the topic. • In a group, parents can become more comfortable talking about abuse by talking first in general terms about what domestic violence is and how it should be addressed. All parents need to understand that domestic violence is unacceptable and that it has a terrible impact on children.

2- Who is involved in domestic violence:

• The most common form of domestic violence in many cultures is physical violence by an adult male against an adult female. • But domestic violence also includes: • Adult female versus adult male violence • Violence by adults against children • Violence among and between children.

3- Types of Abuse:

• Domestic violence includes physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, and abuse of property and pets. Those experiencing this violence may perceive it to be life threatening, and it can leave them with a sense of vulnerability, helplessness, and in extreme cases, horror. • Physical abuse refers to any behavior that involves the intentional use of force against the body of another person that risks physical injury, harm, and/or pain (Dutton, 1992). Physical abuse includes pushing, hitting, slapping, choking, using an object to hit, twisting of a body part, forcing the ingestion of an unwanted substance, and use of a weapon.

section 11 / community topics • meeting 68

68 • Sexual abuse is defined as any unwanted sexual intimacy forced on one individual by another. It may include oral, anal, or vaginal stimulation or penetration, forced nudity, forced exposure to sexually explicit material or activity, or any other unwanted sexual activity (Dutton, 1994). Compliance may be obtained through actual or threatened physical force or through some other form of coercion. • Psychological abuse may include derogatory statements or threats of further abuse (e.g., threats of being killed by another individual). It may also involve isolation, threats, and emotional abuse.

4- Affects on Children:

• Many studies have demonstrated that even infants and small children can show signs of trauma when exposed to domestic violence. (Effects in the different age groups due to exposure to violence are explained in the technical summary to meeting 67.) • Child abuse is also much more prevalent in households where domestic violence exists between parents. In a study in the United States, child abuse was 15 times more common in households when there was domestic violence between adults in the household. • Children may exhibit a wide range of reactions to domestic violence. Younger children (preschool and kindergarten) often do not understand the meaning of the abuse they observe and tend to believe that they “must have done something wrong.” Self-blame can lead to feelings of guilt, worry, and anxiety. • Younger children usually do not have the ability to express their feelings verbally so their behavior becomes a way of expressing their emotions. Children may become withdrawn, non-verbal or exhibit regressed behaviors such as clinging and whining. Eating and sleeping difficulty, concentration problems, generalized anxiety, and physical complaints (e.g., headaches) are all common.

Facilitator’s Manual