Department of Family Services - Domestic and Sexual Violence Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

703-324-5730
TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building, Floor 7, Suite 740
Fairfax, VA 22035

Toni Zollicoffer,
Director

Step Up 4 Kids

Step Up 4 Kids graphic logo

What is Step Up 4 Kids?

Step Up 4 Kids began when county officials realized that seeing domestic violence at any age can affect a child for the rest of their lives. Children may not have the words to tell adults how the violence in their house explains how they act. Fairfax County understands it is important for county services, schools and nonprofits to work together to meet the needs of children impacted by domestic violence. Step Up 4 Kids brings these partners together to meet the needs of children who witness domestic violence. Step Up 4 Kids includes:

  • Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Department of Family Services
  • Shelter House, Inc
  • Healthy Minds Fairfax
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
  • Neighborhood and Community Services
  • Ayuda, Inc
  • Safe Spot Child Advocacy Center
  • Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
  • Fairfax County Police Department
  • Virginia Department of Health
What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence, also called intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behavior used to get and keep power and control over a current or past romantic partner.  

How Children May Be Exposed to Domestic Violence

  • Seeing the survivor threatened, put down or physically hurt.
  • Getting in the middle of a physical assault and possibly being hurt.
  • Hearing the abuse, no matter if it is verbal or physical.
  • Seeing the pain caused by the abuse, like a survivor’s injuries or their responses to the abuse, such as being fearful, angry or withdrawn.
  • Living in a home where they feel afraid of what might happen.
  • Being used and controlled by the abusive parent or caregiver to hurt the survivor.
  • Feeling forced by the abusive parent to hurt the survivor parent or caregiver in some way.
  • Not having their basic needs met because of financial abuse.

If you are a parent or caregiver and you and your child[LK1]  live in a home where there is domestic violence, it is never too late to seek help and support for yourself and your child. There are many ways to create safety for yourself and for your child. You are the most important part of the healing process for your child. Please call the 24-Hour Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline 703-360-7273 for help.

The 24-Hour Hotline can provide:

  • Emotional support during a crisis.
  • Short-term plans for safety.
  • Suggestions for family, friends or professionals who want to help a survivor.
  • A connection to other services such as:
    • The Domestic Violence Action Center (DVAC) gives information, referrals and support with a plan to help a survivor plan for safety. DVAC can help a survivor with the court process, assist with protective orders, and attend court. DVAC also offers help with housing and economic needs.
    • Domestic and Sexual Violence Counseling Services offers eight to 10 free counseling sessions for survivors of domestic or sexual violence. Services are also available for teens and children who have experienced domestic violence or who are survivors of sexual abuse.
    • ADAPT is an 18-week certified domestic abuse intervention program that teaches skills to prevent abuse by learning compassion for self and others. There is a fee for services.

Children Who Live with Domestic Violence May Have These Behaviors

  • Sadness or hopelessness.
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth.
  • Feel responsible for abuse.
  • Worry about their parent or caregiver being hurt or something happening to them, or some other fear.
  • Blame themselves for the abuse.
  • Anger toward one parent or caregiver or the other that the abuse is happening.
  • Shame or embarrassment that the abuse is happening.

If a child has some of these behaviors and emotions, it does not mean a child is living with domestic violence in their home. Children can have many difficulties in life. If you are worried about a child, it is important to build a relationship with them and their parents, and if necessary, help the child find adults they can talk to about how they feel and what they experience. It is possible you might be that adult because of your role in the child’s life.

Children Who Live with Domestic Violence May Have These Emotions

  • Feel sad or hopeless.
  • Have low self-esteem or self-worth.
  • Feel responsible for abuse.
  • Feel worried or scared about their parent or caregiver being hurt or something happening to them, or some other fear.
  • Blame themselves for the abuse.
  • Feel angry toward one parent or caregiver or the other that the abuse is happening.
  • Feel ashamed or embarrassed that the abuse is happening.
  • If a child has some of these behaviors and emotions, it does not always mean a child is living with domestic violence in their home. Children can have many difficulties in life. If you are worried about a child, it is important to build a relationship with them and their parents, and if necessary, help the child find adults they can talk to about how they feel and what they experience. It is possible you might be that adult because of your role in the child’s life.

Step Up 4 Kids - How You Can Help

There are many ways we can help children. Learn more about how different roles can make a difference.

message clouds graphicStep Up 4 Kids Community Engagement Toolkit

Step Up 4 Kids began when county officials realized that seeing domestic violence at any age can affect a child for the rest of their lives. Children may not have the words to tell adults how the violence in their house explains how they act. Fairfax County understands it's important for everyone to work together to meet the needs of children impacted by domestic violence. Learn about ways you can help with the Step Up 4 Kids community engagement toolkit.


For more information about how to help children overcome difficulties and succeed, visit Fairfax County’s Three to Succeed initiative.

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Fairfax Virtual Assistant