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Children Exposed to Violence: Tips for Engaging Men and Fathers

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
After explaining the importance of the father's role in preventing and mitigating children's exposure to violence and its adverse effects, the warning signs of these effects are outlined for child and teen groups, followed by advice to caseworkers on ways to include fathers in interventions for children exposed to violence.
An expanding body of literature has shown that fathers' engagement with their children is associated with positive cognitive, social, and emotional development from infancy to adolescence. The father's role includes nurturing, caregiving, and emotional support. The warning signs that might indicate trauma from exposure to violence are distinguished for the following age groups: children 5 years old and younger, children 6-12 years old, and teens 13-18 years old. Six recommendations guide caseworkers in ways to involve fathers in interventions that address trauma from a child's or youth's exposure to violence. First, develop protocols for responding effectively to men, fathers, and father figures. Second, use self-generated cultural values to help men heal, learn parenting skills, and change their behavior. Third, impress men with the importance of their fatherhood role when attempting to expand their parenting skills. Fourth, provide specialized, trauma-informed interventions for fathers. Fifth, offer ongoing support and parenting skills to fathers who have completed batterer intervention programs and have renounced violence. Sixth, establish relationships with community-based organizations to improve services to fathers and their families. 6 resource listings

Date Published: January 1, 2011