In this course, students will examine a broad range of abuse issues in the lives of families, children and youth. The role of the practitioner in assessing the indicators of abuse, reporting abuse, providing support and referral will be examined from a practice and policy perspective. The course will also explore how our attitudes, values, and experiences affect our perceptions and judgments when dealing with the subject of abuse.
The following global ideas guide the design and delivery of this course:
- Abuse occurs in the context of family, community, and culture. For a number of reasons (emotional, psychological, economic) individuals can respond reactively and intentionally or unintentionally cause harm to others. Human development, change, and adaptation occur throughout the lifespan.
- Abuse takes on many forms and interpretations. Abuse can be presented as physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, and sexual abuse. While many victims represent vulnerable populations (children, elderly, disabled, women) abuse surpasses race, class, and economic status.
- Child abuse is historically problematic. Concerns raised to the protection of children have continually led to debate over the sanctity of the family versus state intervention.
- Family violence affects one in eight families. The themes of gender and socialization are central to an understanding of wife battering, child abuse and sexual assault. Family violence, particularly wife battering, is a reflection of an unequal distribution of power within a society that is patriarchal, based on male prerogative.
- Considered the "hidden abuse", elder abuse is on the increase due to rise in the aging population. The demands on the caregiver of an aging population are both stressful and exhausting. In families where resources (economic and support systems) are minimal, stressors increase and the risk of elder abuse escalates.
- The role of human service practitioners in abuse situations is to support, report, advocate and refer. It is critical that practitioners refrain from investigations, as this is the responsibility of the police, Crown Counsel, and/or child protective services.
- Abuse intervention is difficult and can often be disturbing. Practitioner self-care is an essential component to effective work. Practitioners can benefit from establishing personal and/or professional support systems. Practitioner's well-being is dependent upon self-awareness, a sense of humour, objectivity and the ability to be proactive. A personal plan aimed at stress reduction and self-care is recommended.
- Working with people involves both personal and professional values, attitudes, and beliefs. Ethics are central in working with issues of abuse and violence.
Methods Of Instruction
Group discussion and exercises
Audio visual presentations
Means of Assessment
This course will conform to Douglas College policy regarding the number and weighting of evaluations.
Typical means of evaluation will include a combination of written research assignments, journals, class presentations and class participation.
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Identify how our personal and professional attitudes, values and experiences affect our perceptions and judgements when intervening in cases of potential abuse and family violence.
- Define the various types of child abuse and family violence, including physical and emotional child abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, partner abuse and elder abuse.
- Recognize the historical perspective of how societies have perceived and intervened in the various types of child abuse and family violence.
- Identify the indicators of the various types of child abuse and family violence
- Apply the appropriate child protection and criminal reporting procedures.
- Identify the psychological, social and cultural causal factors of the various types of child abuse and family violence.
- Recognize the potentially abused child in a disclosure process and apply the practice skills to support this process when working with children and youth.
- Identify the emotional, behavioural and psychological impact on children who experience and/or witness child abuse and/or family violence.
- Apply the appropriate practice skills to provide support and referral to children and youth that have witnessed and/or experienced child abuse and/or family violence.
- Identify key current ethical dilemmas and perspectives in the field of child abuse and family violence.
- Practice self-care when working with individuals and families and the various types of child abuse and family violence.