Honor Our Voices is an on-line training program developed for social workers or others who work with children of domestic violence (Honor Our Voices, n.d.). It was developed by The Avon Foundation for Women, the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse, and the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare at the University of Minnesota. The purpose of the training is to increase the awareness of shelter advocates or social service providers and make them more sensitive to the needs of children (Honor Our Voices, n.d.). The training suggests ways of enhancing their services by using the perspectives of the children of domestic abuse (Honor Our Voices, n.d.). The key to this training program is that is based on diaries of real children of domestic abuse. The Honor Our Voices training module explains how children view the various situations they find themselves in and what the different relationships they have mean to them.
Families are no longer considered a stable entity of support; they are often in constant motion and change (Rokach, & Shick, 2014). In training programs that address families with domestic abuse, it’s important to understand that the definition of family is not always as simple as including a mother, father, and children. Children of domestic abuse may live with one or both parents, in shelters, foster homes, or with other members of their extended family, such as a grandmother. Children may leave shelters to go to new family structures that could be one of the ones already mentioned or they could also include a step-parent, an adopted parent, or one of their parents may have a new same-sex partner.
One of the best ways to understand social arrangements and support structures is to use a participatory approach that uses the perspectives of those involved, such as the children themselves (Kadir, Marais, & Desmond, 2013). By gaining the perspectives of the children, hidden factors that affect child health and welfare may be discovered (Kadir, Marais, & Desmond, 2013).
In any situation….
Everyone’s voice needs to be heard!♥
Honor Our Voices (n.d.). Honor Our Voices: Children’s perspectives of domestic violence. Retrieved from http://www.honorourvoices.org/
Kadir, A., Marais, F., & Desmond, N. (2013). Community perceptions of the social determinants of child health in Western Cape, South Africa: Neglect as a major indicator of child health and wellness. Paediatrics & International Child Health, 33(4), 310–321.
Rokach, A., & Shick, S. (2014). Families, children, and loneliness. Psychology Journal, 11(1), 4–12.