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October 31st, 2012

New initiatives for Children of Domestic Violence

NEW YORK - Children of Domestic Violence, a nonprofit organization focused on building awareness and helping children of domestic violence, is launching a series of initiatives supported by new and revolutionary research on children and adults who experienced domestic violence in the home. Childhood domestic violence (CDV) is defined as domestic violence which takes place when children are present. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Children of Domestic Violence will implement these initiatives in order to dramatically increase awareness about the more than five million children of domestic violence living in the U.S. each year and to acknowledge and support the 40 million American adults who were once those children.

Groundbreaking research from the world’s top experts and clinicians shows that the common factor in the lives of resilient children is the presence of a caring adult able to deliver key messages during the formative stages of childhood and adolescence. CDV’s cutting-edge online platform, the Change a Life Program, makes those key messages accessible while teaching safety planning skills and helping motivate adults to break the cycle of violence. The Change a Life Program is designed to provide support and train adults to recognize, talk to and ultimately help those impacted by childhood domestic violence. It is the first scalable tool aimed at reaching these children and ending the cycle of domestic violence.

“Many adults freeze up and don’t know how to respond to a child in need.” said Dr. Jeffrey L. Edleson, Dean and Professor in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and former director of Minnesota University’s Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA). Dr. Edleson is the world’s leading authority on children and domestic violence. “The Change a Life Program provides the unique opportunity to learn step-by-step in very simple terms, how to offer support to a child who might be facing CDV.”

“When asked about domestic violence, the vast majority of people don’t immediately think of children,” said Brian F. Martin, Founder and CEO of Children of Domestic Violence. “The reality is that one of the keys to breaking the cycle of violence is addressing the children who are experiencing it and the adults who were impacted by it as children. The Change a Life Program takes positive outcomes of resiliency which are random and infrequent, and has the power to achieve those results consistently and often.”

“Unfortunately, a vacuum exists in the area of public awareness about CDV,” added Dr. Jeffrey L. Edleson. “The launch of Children of Domestic Violence will provide us with the opportunity to raise public awareness systematically, resulting in better policies and intervention programs. Children of Domestic Violence is dedicated to raising the level of collective action in order to end one of the most devastating human rights problems in the world today.”

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