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Historically, the core focus of domestic violence services in Ireland and elsewhere has been to support and empower women. Children’s needs have been seen as secondary to their mothers’, although services have generally provided opportunities for play and recreation. An increasing recognition of the direct effects of family violence on children and a growing trend in child and family provision towards monitoring progress and identifying outcomes has created a necessity for services working with children who experience domestic violence to examine and appraise the nature and scope of their work. Within this context, this study describes existing provision for children by domestic violence services, most of whom are operating as refuges and some of whom are also engaging in outreach work in the community. A survey questionnaire was employed to capture data on the key aspects of this provision and findings are discussed in terms of what emerges from the literature as recommended models and approaches. To promote cohesion in work with children across the domestic violence sector and to support the development of good practice, this study ultimately offers a recommended framework comprising the key elements of assessment, intervention and evaluation, which underpin quality provision for children who experience domestic violence.
Byrne-MacNamee, Emma: ‘Children as Victims, Children as Clients’ Towards a framework of best practice in services for children who experience domestic violence. Dublin, DIT, September 2009.