National Children’s Awareness Month

Not all children have the wonderful childhood we all hope to provide for our own children. Many children live in fear and neglect, and each year, approximately 3.3 million children experience some form of domestic violence. Therefore, June has been established as the National Children’s Awareness Month to increase awareness about the vulnerability of children exposed to violence.

Domestic violence is the single most important forerunner to child abuse and 30 to 60 percent of perpetrators of partner abuse also abuse the children in the household. Child abuse may occur at any time between infancy and adolescence, and for every hour, as many as 115 children are abused.

Children who witness violent and abusive behavior in the home are the most likely individuals to become perpetrators of domestic violence in the future. Men who are exposed to domestic violence in childhood are twice as likely to abuse their own partner and children, while women experiencing abuse in childhood are more likely to become victims of domestic violence in the future.

While 90 percent of children from violent homes witness their fathers beating their mothers, batterers often use unsupervised visits as an opportunity to psychologically abuse their children. This is often done in an effort to continue terrorizing the mother. These children tend to report stomach aches, diarrhea, nightmares, bedwetting, and violent behaviors against siblings and caretakers both before and after the visits.

Children react differently to abuse depending on age and gender. They may experience emotional, social, behavioral, and/or physical disturbances. Common effects on children include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-blaming, and self-destructive behaviors. Moreover, abused children are arrested by the police four times more often than non-abused children. A major issue is the failure among children to report crimes of domestic violence or sexual abuse due to shame, fear of retaliation, or fear of not being believed.

Children who have lived with violence need intervention even if you think they did not witness the violence. Hubbard House’s HARK (Helping at Risk Kids) program is a therapeutic intervention and prevention program designed to empower children from abusive homes, consisting of a 12-week course. The children, ages 4-17, are separated into age-appropriate groups. Heavy emphasis is placed on breaking the cycle of violence by teaching anger management, non-violent conflict resolution, and respect for others. The development of individualized safety plans — strategies that each child can use should violence recur in their homes — is another critical element of the curriculum. Facilitators work closely with the parent to ensure the greatest benefit to the child.

For more information regarding the HARK program and outreach services or to make an appointment for your child please call (904) 400-6300.

 

No child deserves to be abused! If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE

Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

 By Vicky Krook

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Today’s older generations have lived through wars and hard times, experienced the development of technology from its premature stages, and they have been the driving force behind a cultural revolution striving for an equal society. Many seniors are also becoming more active in their communities, making significant contributions through civic and volunteer actions.

These older generations are certainly worthy of our praise and admiration. Growing older, however, also has its downsides. Elder abuse is a growing problem and every year, it’s estimated that more than 2 million senior Americans fall victims to abuse.

Elder abuse is an under‐recognized problem with devastating and even life‐threatening consequences. June 15th, 2011 marks the 6th Annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  This day is a perfect opportunity to commit to raising awareness to help end elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse can be defined as any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that harms or poses a serious risk of harm to an older adult. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse.

How big is the problem?

Elder abuse, like domestic violence and child abuse, is a public health crisis that crosses all socio-economic lines.  No one knows for certain because relatively few cases are identified. Research indicates that more than one in ten elder may experience some type of abuse, but only one in five cases or fewer are reported. This means that very few seniors who have been abused get the help they need.

Domestic, institutional, and self-neglect are the three most frequent types of abuse in later life. The vast majority of elder-abuse cases involve female victims, and about 7percent of the assaults occur in the victim’s home.

Both men and women may become abusers. In about 90 percent of cases, the offender is a family member, usually financially dependent on the elderly and often having alcohol and/or drug problems. Although grown-up children may have a tendency to financially exploit their elder parents, spouses are the most common perpetrators of abuse in later life.

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

  • Physical Abuse ‐ Slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns
  • Neglect Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration
  • Emotional Abuse Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in alertness, or other unusual behavioral changes
  • Sexual Abuse Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  • Financial Abuse/Exploitation Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as “loans” or “gifts,” and loss of property

What Can I Do to Prevent Elder Abuse?

  • Report suspected mistreatment – to your local adult protective services agency or law enforcement. Although a situation may have already been investigated, if you believe circumstances are getting worse, continue to speak out.
  • Keep in contact Talk with your older friends, neighbors, and relatives. Maintaining communication will help decrease isolation, a risk factor for mistreatment. It will also give them a chance to talk about any problems they may be experiencing.
  • Be aware of the possibility of abuse Look around and take note of what may be happening with your older neighbors and acquaintances. Do they seem lately to be withdrawn, nervous, fearful, sad, or anxious, especially around certain people, when they have not seemed so in the past?
  • Volunteer There are many local opportunities to become involved in programs that provide assistance and support for seniors.
  • Learn more about the issue Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Visit http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/ncearoot/Main_Site/index.aspx for more information on elder abuse.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, Hubbard House can help. Please call the Hubbard House domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119.  

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE

Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

Quiana Bones: Styling for a Cause

Quiana Bones

Volunteers founded Hubbard House in 1976, and today our volunteers continue to serve a vital role in every aspect of the agency. Why are volunteers so important to Hubbard House? Volunteers contribute their time and energy, their ideas and their ideals. They increase our visibility in the community, expand our capacity to provide services, and send a strong message of caring to our clients.

It is because of the support and generosity given by Hubbard House volunteers and donors that we are able to provide services to more than 6,000 women, children, and men annually and ensure that their hope for peace, dreams of tomorrow, and strength for their children are not lost.

This month’s volunteer spotlight focuses on Quiana Bones, who is a hair stylist with a desire to give back to the community. Quiana brings a smile to the residents once a month, when she gives up her day off from the salon to bring the salon to Hubbard House. Quiana gives the residents the gift of feeling good on the outside while they are working on feeling good on the inside.

Why do you donate your time and resources?

I feel the best thing you can give anyone is your time and your talent. I love the look on their [the women staying at Hubbard House] faces when I am done cutting and styling their hair, they may enter the room battered and broken but they leave feeling like a queen. Making someone beautiful is empowering and gives you the strength to fight and survive another day. I wish that I could give them more to make their situation better but at least I can make them feel better for the day that I am there with them.

What has your experience volunteering at Hubbard House taught you?

This experience has humbled me in so many ways. Someone once told me that we could all be a step away from being homeless or in a similar situation as some of the women. I also come from a troubled past and background and I felt really alone, like there was no one to help me. So, I want the women at the shelter to know that even if I don’t know them personally, I care and I want to help.

What made you get connected to Hubbard House?

I wanted to choose a place where my talent would be best suited and that people would benefit the most and be uplifted the most. Each month that I come to Hubbard House I leave feeling better than the moment that I entered the doors. I feel that when you put good into the universe that good comes back to you.

To find out more about volunteer opportunities at Hubbard House contact Tracy Knight at (904) 354-0076 ext. 251 or visit www.hubbardhouse.org/help/volunteering/.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE

Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship Hubbard House can help. Please call the Hubbard House hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119.