October 24, 2012 //
New Organization Focuses Solely on the Childhood Impact of Domestic Violence
Described by UNICEF as: “One of the Most Damaging Unaddressed Human Rights Violations in the World Today”
New York, NY – Children of Domestic Violence, a nonprofit organization focused on building awareness and helping children of domestic violence, is launching a series of initiatives supported by new and revolutionary research on children and adults who experienced domestic violence in the home. Childhood domestic violence (CDV) is defined as domestic violence which takes place when children are present. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Children of Domestic Violence will implement these initiatives in order to dramatically increase awareness about the more than five million children of domestic violence living in the U.S. each year and to acknowledge and support the 40 million American adults who were once those children.
Groundbreaking research from the world’s top experts and clinicians shows that the common factor in the lives of resilient children is the presence of a caring adult able to deliver key messages during the formative stages of childhood and adolescence. CDV’s cutting-edge online platform, the Change a Life Program, makes those key messages accessible while teaching safety planning skills and helping motivate adults to break the cycle of violence. The Change a Life Program is designed to provide support and train adults to recognize, talk to and ultimately help those impacted by childhood domestic violence. It is the first scalable tool aimed at reaching these children and ending the cycle of domestic violence.
“Many adults freeze up and don’t know how to respond to a child in need.” said Dr. Jeffrey L. Edleson, Dean and Professor in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and former director of Minnesota University’s Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA). Dr. Edleson is the world’s leading authority on children and domestic violence. “The Change a Life Program provides the unique opportunity to learn step-by-step in very simple terms, how to offer support to a child who might be facing CDV.”
“When asked about domestic violence, the vast majority of people don’t immediately think of children,” said Brian F. Martin, Founder and CEO of Children of Domestic Violence. “The reality is that one of the keys to breaking the cycle of violence is addressing the children who are experiencing it and the adults who were impacted by it as children. The Change a Life Program takes positive outcomes of resiliency which are random and infrequent, and has the power to achieve those results consistently and often.”
New research shows that CDV alters the architecture of the developing brain. Children who experience CDV are 50 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, six times more likely to commit suicide and three times more likely to repeat the cycle of violence in the next generation. More than half of all children who experience domestic violence are being raised by a parent who was a child of domestic violence.
Children of Domestic Violence has also launched a new website, www.cdv.org, as an educational tool for mentors, a social sharing platform, a library for scientific research on CDV and a source of inspiration and hope for those currently coping with the lasting effects of childhood domestic violence. Children of Domestic Violence will use education and advocacy to help people impacted to reach their full potential and ultimately break the cycle of violence. The organization is also releasing a series of internet ads with a total of 35 million impressions to further reinforce awareness and drive traffic to the site.
As part of their outreach and launch, Children of Domestic Violence produced “The Children Next Door,” a documentary film which premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival and is currently making the rounds throughout the film festival circuit. The film is a stirring account of one family’s struggle with extreme domestic violence and the children’s journey to overcome the trauma, find a new path, and break the cycle. The film is part of a social action campaign that aims to build awareness and educate affected families, key leaders, policy makers and the public about the stark reality of childhood domestic violence. “The Children Next Door” is already receiving acclaim throughout the industry and has been selected to be screened at The Starz Denver Film Festival and DOC NYC this November. View the trailer here.
“Unfortunately, a vacuum exists in the area of public awareness about CDV,” added Dr. Jeffrey L. Edleson. “The launch of Children of Domestic Violence will provide us with the opportunity to raise public awareness systematically, resulting in better policies and intervention programs. Children of Domestic Violence is dedicated to raising the level of collective action in order to end one of the most devastating human rights problems in the world today.”