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Three resources were produced using information from the Best Evidence project. All are available for download.

What About Me!
Seeking to Understand the Child's View of Violence in the Family

Learning to Listen, Learning to Help:
Understanding Woman Abuse and its Effects on Children

Helping Children Thrive:
Supporting Women Abuse Survivors as Mothers

Children Exposed to Family Violence

...programs manuals and models...

Listing of a program here does not imply endorsement by the Centre. A list of available program approaches was compiled as part of the project called Best Evidence for Children Exposed to Family Violence.

Program Manuals

End Violence Alliance (2000). End Violence: A Manual for Group Leaders, 2nd Edition. Scarborough ON: Aisling Discoveries Child & Family Centre [184 pages].

A resource manual for leaders providing groups for children and their parents who have been traumatized by family violence. This manual provides step by step instructions for running child and adult groups. It includes background information on family violence and the impact it has on children at different stages of development. The 12-session group program is described in detail covering such themes as problem solving and conflict resolution, split loyalties, wishes for the family, self esteem and safety plans. There are companion resource sheets on each topic to be used in the parent group.

Giancola, J.A. & M.D. Rothschild (1994). The Children's Program, Preventing Domestic Violence: Therapeutic Intervention with Young Children. Authors.

Designed for children as young as two, this program can be used as either open or closed groups of from four to six children. There are 16 therapeutic sessions: my identity: I am special; individuality: I'm one of a kind; different perspectives: do you see what I see?; family violence: how it affects me; verbal abuse: words can hurt; diversity: different is okay; mixed feelings: I'm confused; defences and masks: different faces I wear; mixed messages: push-pull; cooperation: y family, my world; teamwork: no winners, no losers; drugs and alcohol: what I need to know; sex role expectations: boys, girls, dolls and truck; hidden feelings: how do I really feel; personal safety: taking care of me; non-verbal communication: talking without words.

Graham-Bermann, S.A. (1992). The Kids* Club: A Preventive Intervention Program for School-Age Children Exposed to Violence (see

The Kids* Club intervention program provides a supportive arena for children ages 6 to 13 to share their experiences, to learn that they are not alone, and to identify sources of worry and concern. Additional goals are to discuss conflict and its resolution, the responsibility for violence, and to learn new strategies for problem solving and coping with violence exposure. Group activities designed to identify strengths of families, gender and ethnicity are included. The children's groups allow for discussion of the specifics of violence in the family only after relationships between the group leaders and other participants are well established. Most activities address family violence through displacement - that is by using stories, films, drawings, puppet plays, etc. This method is comfortable for most children because it allows them to react openly to the issues without the pressure to discuss their own particular family. Mothers meet in a separate group to share their parenting experiences, concerns, and support. A program for time-limited groups is also described.

Graham-Bermann, S.A. (uk). Fostering Resilience in Young Children Exposed to Violence: The Preschool Kids* Club (see

The Preschool Kids* Club Program is a group intervention for children aged three to six who were exposed to violence. Kids learns to talk about the things they like and don't like in general; share ideas about the best ways to solve problems; think together about feelings that kids have; cope better with their experiences; and share positive ideas about families, ethnicity, and the future. In small groups, kids come together in a small groups, have snacks, do creative projects or just listen. The 10 sessions have activities that include making masks, puppets, drawings, reading books, and playing games. Mothers meet in a separate group to share their parenting experiences, concerns, and support.

Groves, E., E. Roberts & M. Weinreb (2000). Shelter from the Storm: Clinical Intervention with Children Affected by Domestic Violence. Boston MA: Child Witness to Violence Project, Boston Medical Center [236 pages].

This training manual for mental health providers includes workshop materials for 13 hours of training, slides, complete bibliography, and reproducible handouts. The six modules are: domestic violence: principles of empowerment; the impact of domestic violence on children; assessment of children affected by domestic violence; individual and group treatment of children affected by domestic violence; domestic violence, children and the court; and, caring for the caregiver.

Loosley, S. and Contributors (1997). Group Treatment for Children who Witness Woman Abuse: A Manual for Practitioners. London ON: Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex [175 pages].

This 10-session group is designed for ages 4 to 16 and recommended that children be groups as follows: 4 and 5, 6 to 8, 7 to 9, 10 to 12, and adolescents. Sessions address feelings, violence in families, anger & conflict resolution, responsibility for violence, family changes, safety planning, sexual abuse prevention, dating violence, and self-esteem. There are seven guiding principles provided consistency across groups provided by different co-facilitators. Also included in the manual are chapters about the effects of witnesses woman abuse on children, and results of an evaluation.

Malchiodi, C. (1997). Breaking the Silence: Art Therapy with Children from Violent Homes, 2nd Ed. Philadelphia PA: Brunner/Routledge [208 pages].

Emphasis is given to the short-term setting where time is at a premium and circumstances are unpredictable. Specific topics discussed include: inherent frustrations for therapist working in battered women's shelters; what to include in art evaluation; evaluating child abuse and neglect; group art intervention in shelters; and art expression as assessment and therapy with sexually abused children.

Merrymount Children's Centre (1998). No Violence = Good Health: A Group Program Manual for Preschool-aged Children Who Have Witnessed Family Violence. London ON: Merrymount Children's Centre [173 pages].

Facilitators help preschool children understand the family violence they have experienced. They provide the children with ways to cope with their experiences and with opportunities to learn new skills to act non-violently towards others. For No Violence = Good Health to be effective for a preschool group, it must take into account how preschool children think and learn. Therefore these programs start from and include a developmental perspective summarized in Chapter Two. The group programs "The Best Me is Violence Free" and "The Best Me I Can Be, which comprise the main sections of the manual are progressive and each session is structured to build on previously learned skills. Each session provides children with opportunities to learn and build on individual strengths and self esteem. Early support of children is vital; knowledge of resources for families is essential.

Peled, E. & D. Davis (1995). Groupwork with Children of Battered Women: A Practitioner's Manual. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications.

With excellent detail and hands-on style, it provides practitioners with the required knowledge and direction to successfully operate a group program for 4 to 12 year-old children of battered women. The manual is based on the accumulated experience of the Domestic Abuse Project of Minneapolis and on the results of a qualitative evaluation of the program conducted from 1989 through 1991. The authors guide the reader through an initial child assessment process with sample intake forms that are provided in the appendix. Hour-long group sessions are scheduled over a 10-week period for the children while concurrent educational groups are made available to parents to enhance parenting skills. The program concludes with a family session designed to provide both review and recommendations.

Red Flag Green Flag Resources (2002). I Wish the Hitting Would Stop Curriculum. Fargo ND: RFGF Resources.

The IWTHWS curriculum is written to educate all children in a classroom about the issues of domestic violence, regardless of whether or not there is violence in their homes. Older elementary-age children will learn what domestic violence is and how it affects children and adults. Realizing it is not always possible to stop violence, children will learn ways to try to keep themselves safe and to identify people they can go to for help. Children will also learn how they can help and be supportive to friends who are living in a home where there is violence. The IWTHWS curriculum includes a a facilitator's guide, children's workbook, classroom flashcards, and two videos. One video is for educators containing information on domestic violence and its effects on children as well as suggestions on how to help children witnessing family violence. A second video (13 mins.), for children, defines domestic violence and emphasizes the importance of finding and telling someone who can help.

Roseby, V. & J.R. Johnston (1997). High-conflict, Violent, and Separating Families: A Group Treatment Manual for School-age Children. New York: Free Press [60 pages].

This manual covers ten sessions: saying hello and making a safe place to work together; exploring levels of feelings, actions, and points of view; making a safe inside place and learning the rules of role play; exploring a safe inside place and back to reality: role playing going back and forth between parents who fight; defining wishes for yourself and rules that work for your family and relationships; exploring the mirror: who you are and how you show your feelings; exploring your inside self and your outside self; making a family sculpture: who we are and who we could be; becoming the experts on living with conflict; and, telling your story so far, thinking about who you want to be in the next chapter, and saying good-bye.

Wilder Community Assistance Program (1997). Children's Domestic Abuse Program, Group Manual. St. Paul MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation [438 pages].

A curriculum specifically for work with child victims of domestic violence, this program is designed to support counselors, therapists, caseworkers, and educators who work with these children in group sessions. The curriculum is composed of three self-contained courses for three age groups: 3 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12. In each of these 12-week courses, facilitators will find plans for easy execution of activities and games, a list of materials to prepare ahead of time, and a snack list, as well as sample letters to give to parents. Participants will earn how to recognize different kinds of abuse; express emotions; create a safety plan; and, make good decisions. The program includes interactive games, ready-to-use activities, and reproducible coloring pages.

Wright, Leslie (1991). I Love my Dad But... Toronto ON: Is Five Press [38 pages].

This simply written and illustrated book deals with the complicated, painful problem of an abusive parent in a sensitive, direct and practical manner. The exercises for children are gentle and non-intrusive, yet can serve the therapist well in helping young children to explore their families and their resources in an abusive situation. Suitable for preschoolers and elementary school-aged children.

Articles Describing Programs

Davies, D. (1991). Intervention with Male Toddlers who have Witnessed Parental Violence. Families in Society, 72(9): 515-524.

Ezell, E., R. McDonald & E.N. Jouriles (2000). Helping Children of Battered Women: A Review of Research, Sampling of Programs and Presentation of Project SUPPORT. In J.P. Vincent & E.N. Jouriles (eds.), Domestic Violence: Guidelines for Research-Informed Practice. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp 144-170.

Huth-Bocks, A., A. Schettini & V. Shebroe (2001). Group Play Therapy for Preschoolers Exposed to Domestic Violence. Journal of Child & Adolescent Group Therapy, 11(1): 19-34.

Jazwinski, E. & M. Augustine (2000). Children who Witness Abuse Programs in British Columbia. In P.G. Jaffe, M. Russell & M.J. Smith (eds.), Creating a Legacy of Hope: Conference Proceedings from an International Conference on Children Exposed to Domestic Violence. Vancouver: BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses, pp 7-11.

Kot, S., G.L. Landreth & M. Giordano (1998). Intensive Child-Centered Play Therapy with Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence. International Journal of Play Therapy, 7(2): 17-36.

Kozlowska, K. & L. Hanney (2001). An Art Therapy Group for Children Traumatized by Parental Violence and Separation. Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 6(1): 49-78.

Landmann, K. and D. Garner (2000). Breaking the Cycle of Violence: An Intervention Strategy for Child Victim-Witnesses of Domestic Violence. In P.G. Jaffe, M. Russell & M.J. Smith (eds.), Creating a Legacy of Hope: Conference Proceedings from an International Conference on Children Exposed to Domestic Violence. Vancouver: BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses, pp 39-47.

Lehmann, P., S. Rabenstein, J. Duff & R. VanMeyel (1994). A Multi-dimensional Model for Treating Families that have Survived Mother Assault. Contemporary Family Therapy, 16(1): 7-23.

Nave, J., C.A. Helfrich & A. Aviles (2001). Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence: A Case Study using OT PAL. In C.A. Helfrich (ed.), Domestic Abuse Across the Lifespan: The Role of Occupational Therapy. Binghampton NY: Haworth Press, pp 127-140.

Nisivoccia, D. & M. Lynn (1999). Helping Forgotten Victims: Using Activity Groups with Children who Witness Violence. In N.B. Webb (ed.), Play Therapy with Children in Crisis: Individual, Group and Family Treatment, 2nd Ed. New York: Guilford, pp. 74-103.

Pepler, D.J., R. Catallo & T.E. Moore (2000). Consider the Children: Research Informing Interventions for Children Exposed to Domestic Violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 3(1): 37-57.

Ragg, D.M. (1991). Differential Group Programming for Children Exposed to Spouse Abuse. Journal of Child & Youth Care, 5(1): 59-75.

Ragg, D.M. & C. Webb (1992). Group Treatment for the Preschool Child Witness to Spouse Abuse. Journal of Child & Youth Care, 7(1): 1-19.

Rivard, J.C., S.L. Bloom, R. Abramovitz, L.E. Pasquale, M. Duncan, D. McCorkle & A. Gelman (2003). Assessing the Implementation and Effects of a Trauma-focused Intervention for Youths in Residential Treatment. Psychiatric Quarterly, 74(2): 137-154.

Silvern, L., J. Karyl & T.Y. Landis (1995). Individual Psychotherapy for the Traumatized Children of Abused Women. In E. Peled, P.G. Jaffe & J.L. Edleson (eds.), Ending the Cycle of Violence: Community Responses to Children of Battered Women. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, pp. 43-76.

Sullivan, C.M. (2000). A Model for Effectively Advocating for Women with Abusive Partners. In J.P. Vincent & E.N. Joriles (eds.), Domestic Violence: Guidelines for Research-informed Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, pp. 126-143.

Tutty, L.M. & J. Wagar (1994). The Evolution of a Group for Young Children who have Witnessed Family Violence. Social Work with Groups, 17(1-2): 89-104.

Van Fleet, R., J.P. Lilly & K. Kaduson (1999). Play Therapy for Children Exposed to Violence: Individual, Family and Community Interventions. International Journal of Play Therapy, 8(1): 27-42.


Children and Domestic Violence Resource Page

In one place, you can find all the Centre's resources on children exposed to family violence, most of which are available for download at no cost. For example, see the resources generated from our "Best Evidence to Inform Better Practice" Project including a bibliography of the almost 400 sources used in that review and a list of available program manuals. We also list all our training resources and research reports. We are also starting to compile the PowerPoint presentations of our various conference presentations and workshops. Check back periodically for updates.

We gratefully acknowledge funding by the National Crime Prevention Centre in Ottawa, that made development of this resource page possible.

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Page Last Updated: April 2, 2003
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