October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month so CASCW is taking this opportunity to highlight the intersection of DV and child welfare. Minnesota's Domestic Abuse Act defines domestic violence as the infliction of physical harm, infliction of the fear of imminent physical harm, terrorist threats, criminal sexual conduct, and interference with a 911 call, committed by "one family or household member against another family or household member." The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence published its most recent fact sheet on DV, nationwide and by state, in 2009.
From their data we know:
- Nationwide, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime
- The public cost of this violence is nearly $6 billion per year
- Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to become abusive adults
In Minnesota there were:
- 2,681 domestic assault cases in 2004
- 2,341 reported rapes in 2007
- 17 women murdered as a result of domestic violence in 2007
- 12 children killed as a result of domestic violence or child abuse in 2006
- In 2006, over 11,000 battered women and children utilized emergency housing services
- Between 2004 and 2005 there was a 19% increase in 911 calls reporting domestic violence - during this same time period, Minnesota reduced spending on domestic violence victim services by $3 million
The implications for children witnessing domestic violence has become a serious concern in the child welfare field. The trauma of both witnessing abuse and the subsequent removal from the home, whether by child protective services or moving into emergency housing, results in unique practice challenges for child welfare professionals.
In response to this need, CASCW and the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA) have developed an online training module called Honor Our Voices. This site aims to provide children's perspectives on witnessing domestic violence in order to shed light on effective practices for working with these children. The training modules allow you to read, watch, and listen to true accounts of children who have witnessed domestic violence.