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Questions about children witnessing domestic violence

Cases involving domestic violence may have children as witnesses. It is important to ascertain if children are being removed from the custody of complainant/survivors when they seek help for domestic violence. 

These questions can be used when interviewing any of the professionals listed above:

  1. If a domestic assault occurs in front of the children, does that in any way affect the legal system’s response? Do the police or courts take the matter more seriously?
  2. Are battered women in danger of losing custody of their children if they report abuse?  If so, explain how and why?
  3. Is a child witnessing domestic violence considered to be a form of child abuse? If so who is considered to be the abuser of the child? The batterer, the mother, both?
  4. Are there any services for children who witness domestic violence?
  5. Have there been any studies on children’s exposure to domestic violence?
  6. Is there anyone you think we should talk to about this issue?

 

Questions about violence against children

These questions can be used when interviewing any of the professionals listed above:

  1. Are you aware of children being subjected to violence in the home?
  2. How often does this occur?
  3. Who is perpetrating the violence?
  4. Who reports child abuse and child sexual abuse?
  5. Are there mandated reporters?
  6. Are you aware of children being sexually assaulted in the home?
  7. How often does this occur?
  8. Who is perpetrating the violence?
  9. In your opinion how often does violence against children overlap with violence against women? Are there any programs or services addressing the overlap?
  10. What are the societal practices around corporal punishment?
  11. Are there laws regarding defining physical discipline versus abuse of children?
  12. Does the state get involved in cases of child abuse? If so, how?
  13. Are there criminal sanctions for abuse of children?  Are these cases considered under the general assault codes or are there laws specific to child abuse?
  14. Are children removed from the home when child abuse occurs? If so how does that work? Where do they go? For how long? Who decides when they should be removed and when and if to return them? Is there a foster care program?
  15. Are children removed from the home when sexual abuse occurs? If so how does that work? Where do they go? For how long? Who decides when they should be removed and when and if to return them?
  16. Are there services for victims of child abuse and child sexual abuse? If so what kind? Who provides them?
  17. Are there services for parents who have committed child abuse or child sexual abuse? If so, what kind? Who provides them? Are they mandatory or voluntary? Is continued, or regaining, custody of the abused child contingent on completing programming?
  18. Have there been public awareness campaigns on child abuse?  Who sponsored the campaigns? What have they been like? How have they been effective or ineffective?
  19. Are the laws sufficient to protect abused children? Are these laws adequately enforced? What would you change to improve the protections and services available to victims?
  20. Can you recommend other individuals or organizations to speak with?
  21. Is there anything else you think we should know?