What Should School Social Workers Know about Children Exposed to Adult Intimate Partner Violence?


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Schools are a prime venue of support for children exposed to adult intimate partner violence (IPV). Estimates indicate that each year as many as 15 million U.S. children (from birth to age 17) are exposed to IPV directed toward one of their parents (McDonald, Jouriles, Ramisetty-Mikler, Caetano, & Green, 2006). Of these, 7 million are thought to be in homes with severe IPV, comprising 13.3 percent of American children living in households with married or cohabiting caregivers. We know that children exposed to IPV are in our schools, making it imperative that school social workers and other related services personnel understand these children’s experiences and intervention methods. IPV victims face many barriers to attaining help for themselves and their children (Kennedy et al., 2012), and schools are one of the few outside organizations in regular contact with this vulnerable, often socially isolated population. In this editorial, I discuss how children are exposed to adult IPV, the risks they face (both general and school specific), their potential for resilience, helping approaches, and available resources.

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