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Helping Child Victims of Family Violence Through School Personnel: An Evaluation of a Training Program

NCJ Number
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma Volume: 16 Issue: 2 Dated: 2008 Pages: 144-163
Date Published
20 pages
This article reports on the methodology and effects of a domestic violence training program for school professionals presented in 18 locations throughout rural western New York.
Evaluation findings based on pretests and posttests indicate that school personnel who participated in the training increased their understanding of domestic violence through clarification of misconceptions about the root cause of domestic violence as well as gaining a clearer understanding of the signs children exhibit when they are living in a violent household. In addition, posttest data indicate that trainees were more confident about their ability to respond appropriately to children’s disclosures of domestic violence, to recognize signs of abuse, and to identify the community resources that are available. Trainers first presented an overview of the problem, including the nature of domestic violence and its various forms (emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, and economic), as well as an explanation of the cycle of abuse. This portion of the training emphasizes that domestic violence is patterned behavior used by the perpetrator to gain power and control over the victim, rather than an anger-management issue or the results of alcohol abuse or a mental disorder. Trainers then focused on explaining the common emotional, behavioral, and physical reactions children typically exhibit when they live in violent homes. The second half of the training focused on how to assist such students by means of a structured and predictable school environment, collaboration with outside agencies, and planning with school support personnel. Specific interventions at school were discussed. The training lasted approximately an hour and a half. Pretests and posttests measured knowledge about and appropriate responses to domestic violence and children exposed to it in their homes. A total of 644 pretests and posttests were collected during the training sessions. 4 tables, 31 references, and appended pretest and posttest

Date Published: January 1, 2008