The month of October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). With that being said, this month, this blog will discuss: the dynamics of domestic, information and resources for survivors of abuse, the impact of abuse on children, among other topics related to this pressing public health issue.
Child witnesses to domestic violence often have life-long effects. Please read the data below regarding chid witnesses to domestic violence.
• Between 3.3 million and 25 million children experience domestic violence in their homes each year.
• The average age of a homeless person in the U.S. is 9 years old. 50 percent of homeless women and children are
fleeing abuse in the home.
• Children who live in homes where their mothers are battered are 50% more likely to be beaten themselves. Research indicates that 50 to 70 percent of men who physically abuse their wives also frequently abuse their children.
• In one study, 27% of domestic homicide victims were children. When children are killed during a domestic dispute, 90% are under age 10; 56% are under age 2. Children from homes where their mothers is beaten suffer eating and sleeping disorders, have headaches, ulcers, rashes, depression, and anxiety caused by the trauma of witnessing abuse.
• They have a higher risk of abusing substances and becoming juvenile delinquents.
• Eighty percent of teen runaways and homeless youth come from violent homes.
•Girls from homes with domestic violence are 6.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted and more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
•A boy from a home where his mother is battered is 74% more likely to commit violence, including rape.
•Boys who grow up in non-violent homes have one chance in 400 of becoming abusive adults, but boys who grow up in violent homes have one chance in two of becoming abusive adults.
•Sixty-three percent of boys ages 11-20 arrested for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser.
How are children affected by domestic violence?
• They exhibit “failure to thrive” symptoms, even as infants.
• They may exhibit “general aggressiveness” or violence to siblings or the
“victim parent” in ways that emulate the abusive parent.
• They may exhibit a pattern of “over-compliance” and fearfulness.
• They often suffer from low self-esteem.
• They often suffer poor health.
• They may have poor impulse control.
• They often experience academic problems.
• They live frequently ”disrupted lives” when the victim is forced to flee the home.
• They, along with their mothers, comprise nearly 40% of the homeless population in the U.S.
• They are sometimes injured during violent incidents in the home or the family
• They are more often abducted by the abuser parent than other children.
• They may have a fear and distrust of close relationships.
• They may become conflicted in taking sides with parents.
• They experience confusion over correct behavior.
• They experience psychosomatic complaints, i.e., stomachaches, headaches, stuttering, anxiety, fear, etc.
• They experience “night terrors” (waking up screaming in the night).
• They may wet the bed.
• They kill themselves more often than children who do not live with abuse.
• They are likely to repeat learned behaviors.
• They blame themselves for the violence or the inability to stop it and protect the victim parent.
•They often experience PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
• They are more likely to be victim of child physical and sexual abuse, most often by the abuser parent and less often by the victim.
• They are four times as likely to be arrested eventually.
• They are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.
• They are more likely to engage in antisocial behavior.
• They are more likely to commit crime against other persons and sexual assaults.
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Appreciate and Celebrate Grandparents on National Grandparents Day
For more than thirty-five years, we have formally celebrated the role of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren as a nation.
In 1978, the United States Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. This year, National Grandparents Day will fall on Sunday, September 7th. Now more than ever before, we should celebrate grandparents and the expanding role they are playing in the lives of their grandchildren.
National Grandparent’s Day was founded to champion the cause of lonely elderly persons residing in nursing homes and to persuade their grandchildren to tap into the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. It has grown to be a special day for all to celebrate the roles grandparents play in the family unit. Don’t forget to honor your grandparents on National Grandparents Day, Sunday, September 7th.
On Sunday, September 7th, remember to appreciate and celebrate your grandparents on National Grandparents Day.
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On August 8th, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act into law.
The afore-referenced Act ensures compliance with the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by countries with which the United States enjoys reciprocal obligations, to establish procedures for the prompt return of children abducted to other countries, and for other purposes.
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should set a strong example for 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention) countries in the timely location and return of abducted children in the United States whose habitual residence is not the United States.
Section 3 –
Defines specified terms for purposes of this Act.
Title I – Department of State Actions
Section 101 –
Directs the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an Annual Report on International Child Abduction.
Section 102 –
Directs the Secretary to ensure that U.S. diplomatic and consular missions: (1) maintain a consistent reporting standard with respect to abduction or access cases, (2) designate at least one official in each mission to assist U.S. parents who are visiting to resolve such cases, and
(3) monitor cases involving abducted children in their country of location.
Section 103 –
Directs the Secretary to seek to enter into a memorandum of understanding (an agreement between the United States and a country that is not a Convention country to resolve abduction and rights of access cases) with every country that is not a Convention country.
Section 104 –
Directs the Secretary of State to notify the Member of Congress and Senators representing the legal residence of a left-behind parent when that parent reports an abduction to the Central Authority of the United States unless the left-behind parent does not consent to such notification.
Title II – Presidential Actions
Section 201 –
States that it shall be U.S. policy to: (1) promote the best interest of children abducted from the United States by establishing legal rights and procedures for their prompt return, and (2) recognize the international character of the Convention.
Directs the President, upon a determination that the government of a foreign country has failed to resolve an abduction or access case or has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation, to take one or more specified actions to promote resolution or cooperation.
Section 202 –
States that it shall be U.S. policy to: (1) oppose systemic foreign government failures to fulfill obligations pursuant to the Convention or a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the United States and a non-Convention country to resolve abduction and access cases, and (2) promote reciprocity pursuant to and compliance with the Convention or the applicable MOUs.
Directs the President, upon a determination that the government of a foreign country has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation, to take one or more specified actions to promote resolution or cooperation.
Directs the President to:
(1) review annually the status of abduction cases and access cases in each foreign country to determine whether the country’s government has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation during the preceding 12 months or since the last review,
(2) designate each country whose government has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation as a Country With a Pattern of Noncooperation (Country),
(3) target the responsible agencies or instrumentalities, and
(4) notify Congress of such designations.
Section 203 –
Directs the President to request consultation with the government of a country regarding its designation as a Country.
Section 204 –
Directs the President to report to Congress regarding the violations and the actions to be taken with respect to a Country.
Section 205 –
Sets forth presidential actions and waiver authority under this Act.
Section 207 –
Directs the President to ensure publication in the Federal Register of: (1) Country designations, (2) presidential actions, (3) delays in report transmittal, and (4) waivers.
Section 208 –
Terminates any action taken under this Act with respect to a foreign country on the earlier of the following two dates: (1) not later than two years after the effective date of such action unless expressly reauthorized by law, or (2) the date on which the President certifies to Congress that such country has resolved any unresolved abduction case or has taken substantial and verifiable steps to correct the pattern of noncooperation at issue.
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National Hunger Awareness Month is held in the month of June. The overarching objective of National Hunger Awareness Month is to educate communities nationwide that hunger exists throughout the year not just during the holiday season. Food security is necessary to lead a productive, healthy, and active life. It has been reported that more than forty-nine (49) million Americans lack reliable access to the food. Childhood hunger is a growing reality in America. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of childhood hunger is a national travesty and for many a well kept secret.
For families in need, the summer months present special challenges because they rely on the free and/or reduced school breakfast and lunch programs to provide essential meals for their children during the school-year. These feeding programs are either not available during the summer months or offered only at select school locations making it challenging if not impossible for many families in need to access. With that said, it is important for us to remember to make donations to local community food banks on a routine basis because countless families often turn to these institutions to help feed their families particularly in these very difficult economic times.
Approximately, one in four children in America is food insecure. As is aptly stated in the materials by Share Our Strength i “No Hungry Kid”, “…their bodies may not be rail thin, nor their bellies bloated like their counterparts in other countries, but they’re at risk of hunger all the same. They lack the energy to learn, grow, and thrive.” It is a well known fact that proper nutrition is vital to the growth and development of healthy children.
Statistics on Childhood Hunger in the United States:
- According to the USDA, over 17 million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii
- 20% or more of the child population in 16 states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas (24.4 percent) and Texas (24.3 percent) have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food.(Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii
- In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (21.3 percent), especially households with children headed by single women (36.6 percent) or single men (27.8 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (24.9 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).v
These heartbreaking facts about the prevalence and the face of hunger in America have drawn the attention of many people including but not limited to Oscar winning actor, Jeff Bridges. Jeff Bridges is serving as the national spokesperson for the “No Kid Hungry Campaign”. To ensure that every child has the opportunity to achieve success, we must first ensure that their most basic needs are met.
To get involved in an anti-child hunger campaign or to gain further information on the prevalence of childhood hunger in America, visit www.share.org, http://www.feedamerica.org, and http://www.nokidhungry.org.
Sources: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; U.S. Census Bureau; Feeding America (online); Rhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010; Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008; www.share.org; www.feedamerica.org; www.nokidhungry.org; and Food Research and Action Center.
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iIn 1984, Share Our Strength, was started by the brother and sister team of Bill and Debbie Shore started the organization with the belief that everyone has strength to share in the global fight against hunger and poverty, and that in these shared strengths lie sustainable solutions.
iiRhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.
iiiNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.
iv Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008.
vNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.
Mothers Day 2014 is fast approaching. In the United States, Mother’s Day has been celebrated on the second Sunday of May for almost eighty years. This wildly popular annual holiday seeks to recognize the positive contributions that mothers have made and continue to make in the lives of their children. Not only is Mother’s Day celebrated in the United States, it is also a national holiday in several other countries including but to limited to: Mexico, Canada, South America, Japan, and China.
Every year, children and adults in countless countries seek ways to honor their mother for giving them life, direction, hope, and love. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant. Like dining out, the giving of cards, flowers, and other gifts are also very popular methods for honoring your mother on Mother’s Day.
An emerging trend on Mother’s Day is to give your time or financial support to nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for indigent children, youth, and adults. In this particularly challenging financial period in our nation’s history, nonprofits are called upon to serve an ever increasing number of families in crisis. This Mother’s Day, in honor of your mother, please consider providing much needed support to nonprofits serving indigent children, youth, and families in crisis. Very Happy Mother’s Day!
Sources: Wikipedia. National Restaurant Association.
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The United States House of Representatives just passed an unconscionable bill cutting $40 billion from the Food Stamps program (also known as SNAP). The United States House of Representatives who voted for these drastic and unconscionable cuts may think allowing millions of children to go to bed hungry in one of the wealthiest nations in the world is acceptable, but we know this is not in the public good.
The truth is: if these cuts make it through the Senate as well, it would leave families across the country struggling to keep food on the table. The cuts would affect over four million people, taking away a vital safety net that help families make ends meet when times are rough or an unexpected crisis hits. It would leave parents struggling to provide for their children, and would mean more people across America going hungry every night.
Take action today: Call on your senator to say NO to these devastating cuts to the food stamp program. Lets be clear, without SNAP, many indigent families assert that their children would “probably would not have food to eat.”
For those of you that read this post and take action to prevent further cuts to SNAP, I thank you for taking action on this very important issue and lending your voice to children who cannot protect themselves.
You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi
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Over 15 million children in our nation live in homes where there has been at least one incident of domestic violence in the past year, and seven million children live in families where severe partner violence has occurred. Data indicates that 30% to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse children in the home. Growing up in abusive household can pose a threat to not only the child’s physical health but his mental health as well.
Research indicates that the non-abusive parent is often one the most important protective factors in the lives of children who witness domestic violence. All women, children, and men have the right to live in a safe environment and to conduct their lives without emotional, physical or sexual abuse or the fear of abuse.
Often, one of the greatest concerns for battered women is the affect of living in a violent home environment on children. In some instances, the domestic becomes so severe that women with children leave their homes without a place to go. Research indicates that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness. In a 2007 report by the United States Conference of Mayors, thirty-nine percent of the city leaders who were surveyed identified domestic violence as a primary cause of homelessness among households with children.
Victims of domestic violence experience difficulty finding housing. There simply are not sufficient beds to house all the battered women and their children seeking shelter. The U.S. Conference of Mayors report indicated that city leaders turn persons experiencing homelessness away from shelters and transitional housing because of lack of capacity all or some of the time. Not only do battered women experience challenges in securing a bed in a shelter, they also often have difficulty securing a safe, decent, affordable apartment.
Domestic violence thrives on apathy. It can be eradicated with an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action. How you can help? Advocate for increased funding for domestic violence programs and public housing.
Sources:United States Conference of Mayors. Center for Diseaese Control & Prevention (CDC), National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. McDonald, Renee, Ernest N. Jouriles, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler, et al. 2006. Estimating the Number of American Children Living in Partner-Violent Families; Edelson, J.L. (1999). “The Overlap Between Child Maltreatment and Women Battering.” Violence Against Women. 5:134-154; U.S. Conference of Mayors. 2007. A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America’s Cities: A 23-City Survey. Washington, DC.
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