Archive for the ‘Domestic Violence’ Category (Feed)


Helping Families Heal: The Children’s Aid Society’s Domestic Violence Services – July 19th, 2010

The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged.When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will never be enough.

—      Lyndon Baines Johnson

Domestic violence is a serious behavioral issue which adversely affects every member of the family.  The Children’s Aid Society’s innovative Family Wellness Program provides comprehensive services to help parents and children stay safe and eventually heal from the effects of domestic abuse.

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Safety is critical, handled by the Program’s experienced case managers, advocacy specialists, and crisis management counselors.  From safe shelters, housing, and public benefits to legal assistance with orders of protection and emergency response – the Family Wellness Program Case Manager is the “go to” person for families in crisis.

We begin the process of helping families heal from the trauma of domestic violence by giving them free access to support groups, as well as one-to-one and group counseling sessions with Family Wellness Program therapists specializing in abusive relationships. Survivors, witnesses and perpetrators (abusive partners) of domestic abuse receive professional help to understand the effects of violence, learn to modify extreme behavioral patterns and begin healing.

Our objective is to, whenever possible, keep families together.

Recently, The Children’s Aid Society has expanded domestic violence support services to East and Central Harlem and the Washington Heights district, as part of our unwavering commitment to helping families in crisis – one family at a time.

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Children’s Aid Helping ALL Members of the Family – June 9th, 2010

It is an issue that unfortunately many of us have had some experience with, but, many people have difficulty understanding or grasping the severity of this national problem. Nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a problem that affects all people regardless of race, income, religion, gender or sexual orientation. One of the many factors that contribute to carrying out this form of abuse on an intimate partner and/or children stems from experiencing or witnessing the same trauma as a child.

The Family Wellness Program is the only program in New York City that serves the entire family – including abusive partners. We believe that when there is violence in the home, it is in the best interest of the children to provide services to every member of the family, in an effort to stop generational violence and restore healthy relationships between parents and children, if possible. The Children’s Aid Society and the New York City’s Coalition on Working with Abusive Partners (CoWAP) brought together over 200 New York City providers of domestic violence services, legal services, mental health, child welfare services and fatherhood programs at the One Size Does Not Fit All: Exploring Diverse Approaches to Working with Abusive Partners conference in 2009 to discuss multiple approaches being used around the country to work with perpetrators of intimate partner abuse.

The information gathered at the conference and colloquium was used to develop ’next steps’ for expanding services for abusive partners in New York City. Recommendations from The Children’s Aid Society, based upon information gathered from the experts, include:

  • An assessment of the abusive partner that identifies the factors that contributes to their abusive behavior.
  • Individualized therapy to support behavior change.
  • Parenting programs designed specifically for abusive parents.
  • Substance abuse treatment specifically designed to also address the co-occurrence of abusive behavior.
  • Counseling for the couple and family only following individual services for both partners, when there is no longer violence or significant risk of violence, and accompanied by individual services and ongoing safety assessment by a professional with expertise in domestic violence.
  • Greater consistency in the application of consequences imposed by the criminal justice system.
  • Ongoing services for abusive partners after the initial program completion in order to support behavior change.

It is clear that current services need to be re-evaluated and diversified to properly treat and protect victims and their families. We believe that including intensive counseling and work with the abuser, to maintain a nonviolent home for children – while ensuring the safety of affected child first and foremost – is integral in tackling the roots of generational abuse.

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Associates Council Hosts Domestic Violence Forum – June 2nd, 2010

On Wednesday, May 12, members of The Children’s Aid Society’s Associates Council hosted a Domestic Violence Forum. The forum’s discussion focused specifically on the effects of domestic violence on children and adolescents. Kerry Moles, The Children’s Aid Society’s Director of Family Wellness moderated the discussion. Christian Burgess of Safe Horizon shared his perspective from working in a school setting with “tweens” where his team educates students on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. Angela Montague of Metropolitan Hospital offered her reflections on working in a hospital setting, which is often the site of the first intervention in many cases of domestic violence.

According to the discussion, 32 million Americans have been affected by domestic violence. Sadly, statistics show that incidence of domestic violence is higher among families in poverty. The discussion provided the audience with a broad perspective on different approaches to combating this terrible, yet preventable trend and provided an opportunity for questions and answers. At The Children’s Aid Society, we take a unique approach to working with families that struggle with domestic abuse. In addition to working with survivors, CAS’s Family Wellness Program works directly with the perpetrators by providing counseling and other needed services— ours is the only program in New York City that serves the whole family, including abusive partners. We believe that when there is violence in the home, it is in the best interest of the children to provide services to every member of the family, in an effort to stop generational violence and restore healthy relationships between parents and children, if possible. For more information on the Children’s Aid Society’s Family Wellness program, please visit.

We are grateful to the Associates Council for their efforts to organize this terrific educational event and look forward to future forums.  If you are a young professional looking to become involved with the Associates Council through advocacy work and with our fundraising initiative,  please visit us at: or on Facebook.

Mary Newcomb
Development Assistant
The Children’s Aid Society

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Domestic Violence-Part 4: How Can You Help – October 26th, 2009

If you know someone who you think is being abused by their spouse or partner,  here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Let them know you are worried about them and want to help. Don’t tell them what to do or try to take control of the situation.
  2. Don’t blame the victim, imply they did something to ‘bring it on,’ or tell them they are stupid for staying.  It’s hard to understand why people stay in abusive relationships – some common reasons are love, belief the abuse will change, self-blame, and fear that the abuse will get worse if they try to break it off.  But the worst thing you can do if you want to help is to reinforce the idea that they are to blame.
  3. Help them to reduce isolation. Abusers often cut their victims off from friends and family members. Tell them you’ll be there for them whether they decide to stay in the relationship or not.
  4. Connect them with a domestic violence advocate who can help them develop a safety plan. Call one of the numbers below to find out what resources are available in your area.

Finally, if you know someone who’s being abusive, do not look the other way. Confront the specific behavior, tell them you are willing to support their efforts if they are willing to get help for changing but will not support abuse, and do not accept excuses, justifications or victim-blaming. Call one of the numbers below to find out how to get help for the abusive person.

The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program 212-503-6842

NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 800-621-HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224)

National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 866-331-9474 (TDD 866-331-8453)

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Domestic Violence – Part 3: The Warning Signs of Domestic Violence – October 21st, 2009


While every relationship is different, survivors of domestic violence have identified common characteristics and behaviors of abusive partners.  Knowing the warning signs can help you to avoid abusive relationships or identify abuse and get help for yourself or a friend/family member sooner.

If you recognize any of the warning signs below, consider calling the Family Wellness Program or one of the hotlines listed at the bottom of this page.

1. Extreme jealousy – when one partner wants to know who the other is with and what they are doing at all times, doesn’t trust them and might even accuse them of cheating for no good reason.

2. Isolation – when one partner wants the other all to him/herself, tries to cut them off from friends, family, and activities – might even insist they quit their job or school.

3.  Controlling behavior – when one partner tries to control the other by telling them what to do, how to dress, who to hang out with – or manipulates them into doing what they want.

4.  Fast-moving relationship – when a partner who comes on very strong, is an extreme “smooth talker” and wants to make major commitments very early in the relationship.

5.  Blaming – when one partner always seems to blame the other for his/her own behavior – “You made me do this.”

6.  History of abusive behavior – if someone has ever been abusive to a current or ex partner, a child or an animal; it is unlikely they will change without help.

7. Moodiness – someone with a “Jeckyl and Hyde” personality.

8. Put-downs – when one partner is constantly criticizing the other, putting them down and making them feel badly about themselves.

9. Entitlement – when someone believes they are entitled to be in charge or be catered to, because of gender or other reasons.

10. Intimidation and threats – when one partner uses threats or intimidating body language, punches walls or breaks things to intimidate the other.

How to get help:

The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program 212-503-6842

NYC Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-699-SAFE or 1-800-787-3224 TTY

National Teen Dating Violence Hotline 1-866-331-9474 or1-866-331-8453 TTY

Kerry Moles, Children’s Aid Family Wellness Program, NYC

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Domestic Violence – Part 2: The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children – October 14th, 2009

It is estimated that at least 10 – 20% of American children are exposed to domestic violence in their homes. The effects on children vary widely. Some children are very resilient and continue to function in relatively healthy ways. But many children suffer from long-term effects.


Children who see, hear or are aware of violence against at home are much more likely to get hurt themselves – either by getting hit directly or being ‘caught in the crossfire’ and hurt accidentally. Even when they are not hurt physically, they are usually hurt emotionally. They are much more likely to get in trouble for fighting with peers, do poorly in school, be diagnosed with learning disorders, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, or other mental health problems like depression or anxiety. As adolescents, they are at greater risk of substance abuse, dating violence, suicide, and a whole host of other social and emotional problems.

The cycle of violence in a family all too often repeats itself from generation to generation. And it impacts not only the family, but all of society, not only because of the cost in the health care and criminal justice arenas, but because those same child witnesses are more likely to grow up to commit not only intimate partner abuse, but many other forms of violence in the community.

If a child you know is being exposed to domestic violence, call one of the numbers below to find out how you can help:

The Children’s Aid Society – Family Wellness Program, 212-503-6842

NYC Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-699-SAFE (TDD 800-787-3224)

National Teen Dating Violence Hotline, 1-866-331-9474 (TDD 866-331-8453)

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1 Comment By Kerry

What Everyone Should Know About Domestic Violence – October 5th, 2009

This is the first in a series of blogs on domestic violence and healthy relationships, being initiated in honor of October’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  Check back weekly for upcoming blogs on The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children, Why People Abuse and Why Victims Stay, and other topics.

dv2105The Children’s Aid Society recognizes domestic violence, also known as relationship abuse or intimate partner abuse, as one of the most pressing issues facing children, families and communities today.  Most people know someone who has been abused or abusive, even if they are not aware of it.  It can devastate families, lead to lifelong problems for the children who witness it, and contributes to a wide range of violence in the community. That is why CAS is committed to providing both education to prevent abuse and services to help families impacted by it to find safety and heal from its effects.

Domestic Violence or Intimate Partner Abuse is defined as a pattern in an intimate relationship in which one partner (spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, dating partner) attempts to gain or maintain power and control over the other.  Abusers may use physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial tactics to establish that control.

Children's Aid Society Anyone can be abused – this is an issue that cuts across race, culture, class, religion and sexual orientation, and teens as well as adults experience it.  The most important thing to remember is that NO ONE deserves to be abused. While victims are often convinced that they bring on the abuse themselves, this is never the case – a person who chooses to abuse someone else is always responsible for his or her own actions.

If you or someone you know is being abused or abusive, you should know that help is available. The first step is to call the Children’s Aid Society’s Family Wellness Program or one of the hotline numbers listed below. We will listen without judgment, give you information about your options, and help you figure out the next steps. All of our services are free and confidential.

Family Wellness Program     212-503-6842

NYC Domestic Violence Hotline      1-800-621-HOPE (4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline  1-866-331-9474 | 1-866-331-8453 TTY

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