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
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.
- 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pain caused by the abuse, like a survivor’s injuries or their responses to the abuse, such as being fearful, angry or withdrawn.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 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.
If you are a parent and you and your child 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.
- Anger or violence toward other children or adults.
- Difficulty interacting with other children or peers.
- Difficulty sitting still or controlling themselves.
- A hard time learning in school.
- Pulling away socially from others.
- Skipping or missing school (especially teens).
- Running away from home (especially teens).
- Bullying other children.
- Trying to be perfect at school or in their activities so they don’t get in trouble with the abusive parent or caregiver.
- Having a hard time falling asleep.
- Experiencing nightmares.
- Wetting the bed after they have been potty-trained.
If a child has some of these behaviors, 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.
- 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.