all things social work

DV: Nobody Ever Earned It

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DV: “Dr. Phil” to Air First Ever National Program Focused on Childhood Exposure to Domestic Violence

A groundbreaking episode of “Dr. Phil” will air Monday, January 16th on CBS affiliates nationwide, focusing on the impact of childhood exposure to domestic violence. This episode, with an audience of three to four million viewers, will mark the first time that a significant national television program has dedicated an hour of programming to what UNICEF calls “one of the most damaging, unaddressed human rights violations in the world today.”

Dr. Phil and the effects of witnessing domestic violence on children

This is a noteworthy development because there are five million children in the U.S. who were exposed to domestic violence in 2011. Nearly two out of three of those children will go on to repeat the cycle of violence as adults. There are also 40 million Americans who have been exposed to domestic violence in their lives and are still living with the effects. Addressing the children who are exposed to domestic violence and the adults who used to be those children is critical to ending the cycle of violence

Importantly, I wanted to take a moment to let you know that we need your support to help to bring about positive change in the lives of millions of children.

We would very much appreciate your support in our efforts to end domestic violence.  If you would like to join us, here is what you can do:

  1. Visit: to learn more about Makers of Memories and to learn about resources to help if you or someone you know is in need.
  2. Watch the January 16th airing of the Dr. Phil Show and email and Facebook the producers to tell them how important this topic is to you
  3. Visit our Facebook page at:!/makersofmemories and “like” us to show your support for these children.

Thank you so much.


Bill Livermore

Executive Director

Makers of Memories

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DV: In Chris Brown’s Big Year, Tough Questions On Abuse

In Chris Brown’s Big Year, Tough Questions On Abuse

by Sam Sanders

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Every 60 seconds in America, 24 people are a victim of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.

The CDC released the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, also known as NISVS, today.  Here are the findings…


Key findings in the NISVS 2010 Summary Report include:

For women:

  • High rates of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence were reported by women.
    • Nearly 1 in 5 women has been raped at some time in her life.
    • One in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime.
    • One in 6 women has experienced stalking victimization during her lifetime in which she felt very fearful or believed that she or someone close to her would be harmed or killed. Much of stalking victimization was facilitated by technology, such as unwanted phone calls and text messages.
  • Almost 70 percent of female victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before the age of 25.
  • Approximately 80 percent of female victims of rape were first raped before age 25.
  • Female victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than female non–victims.
  • Across all forms of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence), the vast majority of victims knew their perpetrator (often an intimate partner or acquaintance and seldom a stranger).

For men:

  • About 1 in 7 men has experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.
  • One in 19 men has experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • Almost 53 percent of male victims experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before age of 25
  • More than one-quarter of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger.
  • Male victims of violence (sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence) were significantly more likely to report physical and mental health problems than male non-victims.


“More than 1 million women reported being raped in the 12 months prior to taking this survey.

Many more women and men reported being victims of other forms of sexual violence.

More than 6 million women and men were a victim of stalking.

These were victims who reported being very fearful and believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed as a result.

More than 12 million women and men reported rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner over the course of a year.

That equals 24 people per minute being a victim of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in this country.

Most of these victims first experienced these types of violence before they were 25 years old, often during their teenage years.”


Child Abuse & DV: Study finds how child abuse changes the brain

God help our children…

By Kate Kelland

LONDON | Mon Dec 5, 2011 12:03pm EST

(Reuters) – Children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat, scientists said on Monday.

In a study in the journal Current Biology, researchers used brain scans to explore the impact of physical abuse or domestic violence on children’s emotional development and found that exposure to it was linked to increased activity in two brain areas when children were shown pictures of angry faces.

Previous studies that scanned the brains of soldiers exposed to violent combat situations showed the same pattern of heightened activity in these two brain areas — the anterior insula and the amygdala — which experts say are associated with detecting potential threats.

This suggests that both maltreated children and soldiers may have adapted to become “hyper-aware” of danger in their environment, the researchers said.

“Enhanced reactivity to a…threat cue such as anger may represent an adaptive response for these children in the short term, helping keep them out of danger,” said Eamon McCrory of Britain’s University College London, who led the study.

But he added that such responses may also be underlying neurobiological risk factor which increases the children’s susceptibility to later mental illness like depression.

Depression is already a major cause of mortality, disability, and economic burden worldwide and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, it will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease across all ages.

Childhood maltreatment is known to be one of the most potent environmental risk factors linked to later mental health problems such as anxiety disorders and depression.

A study published in August found that found that people who suffered maltreatment as children were twice as likely as those who had normal childhoods to develop persistent and recurrent depression, and less likely to respond well or quickly to treatment for their mental illness.

McCrory said still relatively little is known about how such early adversity “gets under the skin and increases a child’s later vulnerability, even into adulthood.”

In the study, 43 children had their brains scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Twenty of the children who were known to have been exposed to violence at home were compared with 23 who had not experienced family violence.

The average age of the maltreated children was 12 years and they had all been referred to local social services in London.

When the children were in the scanner they were shown pictures of male and female faces showing sad, calm or angry expressions. The researchers found that those who had been exposed to violence showed increased brain activity in the anterior insula and amygdala in response to the angry faces.

“We are only now beginning to understand how child abuse influences functioning of the brain’s emotional systems,” McCrory said. “This research…provides our first clues as to how regions in the child’s brain may adapt to early experiences of abuse.”

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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DV: VAWA Reauthorization


Important changes…

How does VAWA affect LGBTQ people?

  • The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is up for re-authorization and, with your help, this year’s bill will explicitly include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.  VAWA should ensure that all victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are eligible for VAWA protections and services regardless of the gender of their perpetrator.
  • LGBTQ people experience domestic violence in 25-35% of relationships, which is the same rate as the general population.
  • LGBTQ victims face discrimination when accessing services, including being turned away from shelter, mis-arrested as the primary aggressor by local law enforcement, and denied orders of protection.
  • Hopefully, the VAWA bill will delineate LGBTQ victims as an under-served population to encourage more effective protection and services for all LGBTQ people who need help.  In a 2010 study, 96% of victim services and law enforcement agencies said that they did not have specific services for LGBTQ victims.  In fact, studies have shown that only one in five survivors of same-gender sexual assault and intimate partner violence received victim services.   For all of these reasons, LGBTQ people need to be included in the re-authorized VAWA.
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DV: National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence

“Recent research shows that more than 60 percent of American children have been exposed to crime, abuse and violence – many in their own homes.”

…So if you’re a teacher and you have 35 kids in your classroom, then more than 21 of those kids have been exposed in some way to crime, abuse, and violence.  

Are we really that confused about why kids aren’t meeting academic standards?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence convened its first of four public hearings to gather expert and community testimony on the epidemic of children’s exposure to violence. Recent research shows that more than 60 percent of American children have been exposed to crime, abuse and violence – many in their own homes. Ten percent of children in the United States have suffered some form of abuse or neglect and one in 16 has been victimized sexually. 

The task force will hold three additional hearings this year in Albuquerque, N.M ., Miami and Detroit. The task force will identify promising practices, programming and community strategies used to prevent and respond to children’s exposure to violence and will also issue a final report to the attorney general presenting its findings and comprehensive policy recommendations. The report will serve as a blueprint for preventing children’s exposure to violence and for reducing the negative effects experienced by children exposed to violence across the United States.

“As a former judge and United States attorney, and now as the Attorney General and the father of three teenagers, protecting and empowering our children is both a personal and professional commitment,” said Attorney General Holder.  “I have made protecting the most vulnerable among us – including our children – a core priority of the Justice Department and this task force brings together a wealth of experience and talent to help us find ways to improve our response to the growing problem of children exposed to violence.”

The task force is composed of 13 leading experts from diverse fields and perspectives, including practitioners, child and family advocates, academic experts and licensed clinicians. Joe Torre, Major League Baseball executive vice president of baseball operations, founder of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, and a witness of domestic violence as a child himself; and Robert Listenbee Jr, chief of the juvenile unit of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, serve as co-chairs of the task force. The full list of Task force members is located at: .

“Unprecedented numbers of children are exposed to violence, both as victims and witnesses, and they bring their experiences, feelings, learned behaviors and attitudes into their schools and communities,” said Torre. “This isn’t just a family issue; it’s also a community and national public health issue. The Defending Childhood Task Force has the welfare of our most vulnerable children at its center, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make a significant contribution to solving this urgent problem.”

“Children who experience violence are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, fail in school, suffer from mental health problems and engage in delinquent and criminal behavior,” said Listenbee. “The attorney general’s task force creates a tremendous opportunity for our nation to stop this epidemic and give our children the safety and well-being they deserve, while creating a healthier society for everyone.”

Speakers at today’s hearing at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore, included United States Attorney General Holder; Sonja Sohn, founder and CEO of ReWired for Change and star of HBO’s “The Wire”; Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation; Nigel Cox, chair of the SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) National Advisory Board; and Baltimore and area residents who have experienced family, community and other types of violence.

Details on future hearings will be available on the Defending Childhood website: .

The task force is part of the attorney general’s Defending Childhood Initiative and is staffed by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), a nonprofit research and consulting agency.

To learn more about the task force, visit: .

About the Defending Childhood Initiative and the Task Force

For more information about Attorney General Holder’s Defending Childhood initiative, the Defending Childhood Task Force and upcoming hearings, please visit .

About National Council on Crime and Delinquency

NCCD promotes just and equitable social systems for individuals, families and communities through research, public policy and practice. For more information about NCCD, please visit .

Contact: Department of Justice Main Switchboard – 202-514-2000

Reported by: US Department of Justice

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