This Guide aims to assist practitioners in supporting parents and caregivers to establish a healing relationship with their children so that the negative effects of domestic violence can be ameliorated and children can be provided a safe, nurturing environment for further healing, growth and development.
Working with parents to heal their relationships with their children after domestic violence involves:
• Helping parents understand the impact of domestic violence on their children and themselves;
• Supporting parents in talking to and listening to their children about their experiences of the violence;
• Providing parents with ways to encourage their children’s resiliency; and
• Offering strategies for parents to strengthen their relationship with their children.
Acknowledgments about the process for creating this resource book:
Parenting After Violence: A Guide for Practitioners was developed through a collaborative effort of many individuals and organizations. Darla Coffey, MSW, PhD, developed this with the Institute for Safe Families and included in this work are contributions from the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, the members of the Parenting After Violence Clinical Network, and those practitioners who participated in the “pilot” training program. A decision was made early in its conception to inform this Guide with experiences of children, mothers, and fathers who have been affected by domestic violence. In order to do this, focus groups were conducted at seven agencies in Philadelphia: Anti-Violence Partnership, Congreso de Latinos Unidos Domestic Violence Program, Lutheran Settlement House Domestic Violence Program, Menergy, Men’s Resource Center, People’s Emergency Center, and Youth Services, Incorporated. In addition, four adults who grew up with domestic violence in their homes as children were interviewed individually and acknowledgeing with deepest gratitude the interviewees for their willingness to share their experiences and lend their “voices” to this work.This guide reflects the experience, strength, and hope that they were so courageously willing to share. In addition, the women of Mothers Empowered, who allowed Darla to accompany them on their journey to reclaim their lives after domestic violence. Their fierce and unwavering devotion to their children has taught a great deal about love. Additional contribution came from the practitioners who facilitated the focus groups, Peter Cronholm, MD, who analyzed the survey data.