Children are often unintended victims in cases of domestic violence. It can be a scary time for them. The experience can deeply affect them and their future ability to develop healthy, non-violent relationships.
It is important for children to know that the violence is not their fault! They also need to know that they are not alone. Counseling help is available in Denver through:
Project PAVE at 303-322-2382, Denver SafeHouse at 303-318-9989, and the Denver Children's Advocacy Center at 303-825-3850.
Project PAVE, Inc. and the Gateway Battered Women's Shelter have compiled suggested ways you can talk about domestic violence with your children:
About the violence --
"People are not for hitting."
"When adults hit each other it is not okay and they need help to stop."
"I love Daddy (or Mommy), but I won't let him (or her) keep hurting me and scaring you."
"I don't want you to feel that it's okay to be violent when you are angry or feeling bad."
"We must all say no to hitting and hurting people."
"I'm afraid when I get hit and I don't want to always be afraid."
About the police --
"In order to get help to stop the hitting we need to ask for help from the police and others. Sometimes it means the person who hits has to go away."
"The police were called because I (or a friend or relative) was afraid that I would keep getting hurt if someone didn't stop the hitting."
"I was afraid when the police came but I was more afraid of being hurt."
"People who hit don't stop by themselves and sometimes the police are needed to stop them."
"The police came to our house to help us. We needed their help to get Daddy (or Mommy) to stop hurting me and making you scared."
About an arrest --
"The police felt that Daddy (or Mommy) would hurt me again if they left."
"For us to be safe tonight it was important for Daddy (or Mommy) to go to jail."
"People in a family have a right to feel safe and sometimes a family member has to leave so that the rest of the family can feel safe."
About going to court --
"When someone hurts another person or threatens to hurt another person, both people go to court to tell a judge what happened."
"If Daddy (or Mommy) tells the judge that what they did was wrong, or they weren't sure if it was wrong, the judge will try to get Daddy (or Mommy) help to stop."
"Sometimes the judge will decide that Daddy (or Mommy) has to go back to jail to keep him (or her) from hitting again."
"Sometimes the person who was hurt will need to talk to the judge or someone from the court to help the judge decide what will be the best for everyone."
"Sometimes the judge will tell Daddy (or Mommy that they must get counseling help."
About counseling --
"Counseling means going to talk to someone about what is happening in our family."
"Counseling means exploring angry feelings, sad feelings, and scared feelings."
"Counseling can help you and me deal with our sad, angry and scared feelings."
"Counseling helps people learn how to deal with their feelings without being violent and being mean to someone else."
SAFEHOUSE DENVER: 303-318-9989