Are they safe at home?

Children experiencing domestic violence live in perpetual fear. In fact, domestic violence and child abuse often go hand in hand. The repercussions of experiencing this can last for years, as children who are exposed to violence and are victims of violence are more likely to become bullies or engage in acts of violence and aggression themselves.

What to do

  • Get help early: prolonged exposure to abuse can produce changes in the brain that have lifetime implications
  • Explain what you are observing and that you are concerned
  • Convince them that they need help
  • Persuade them to let you talk to someone

What to Avoid

  • Don’t go it alone. Seek help for serious issues involving abuse, violence and/or suicide.

How to get help

  • Talk with someone such as a school counselor about how to handle breaking confidentiality with your mentee
  • Contact the appropriate child welfare agency
  • Here’s a current list of child abuse hotlines in various states

Look for Warning Signs

Domestic Abuse
  • Anger and poor anger management skills
  • Aggressive acting-out behavior including bullying
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Depression
  • Learning problems
  • Avoidance of talking about their family
  • Frequent illness and complaints of stomachaches and headaches
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Feelings of guilt and responsible for things that go wrong
  • Clinginess in younger mentees
  • Teens may become suicidal, run away from home, use drugs, and engage in other self-harming behaviors
  • Teens may become involved in dating relationships characterized by aggressive or violent behavior either as victim or perpetrator.
Child abuse
  • Injuries or bruises
  • Behavioral or personality changes
  • Learning and other problems at school
  • Developmental delays or regressing to childish behavior
  • Distrust of adults
  • “On alert”/ waiting for something bad to happen
  • Poor hygiene
  • Indications that their basic needs (food, clothing) are not being met
  • Act outing through substance abuse, running away, or sexual promiscuity
  • Exhaustion, depression, and anxiety
  • Suicidal
  • Fearful of any physical contact with an adult
  • Physical discomfort in their genital area such as difficulty sitting, walking, or riding a bike
  • Demonstration of age-inappropriate knowledge of sexual terms or bringing up sexual topics

The Bigger Picture

Be aware that an abuse report, by you or another caring adult, may result removal from their home with protective custody. Talk to with the relevant child welfare office to see if you can get he contact information for the welfare social workers assigned to their case. You can request that they provide the opportunity for you to continue to see them. If this is not possible, you may at least be able to make phone calls, communicate electronically or write letters to let them know you have not forgotten them.

From The Blog

The Chroncile of Evidence-based Mentoring

Chicago mentoring program proves effective in reducing youth violence
In the United States, violent injuries are one of the leading causes of death among adolescents. Specifically in urban areas, intentional violent injuries account for 85% of injury related adolescent deaths; the youths who survive this violence are at 88 times the risk for recurrent injury and/or fatal violence than those teens who have not been exposed to violent injury…