PERCS Conversation Guide: Domestic violence and children

Emerging Minds, Australia, September 2021

Family and domestic violence (FDV) can significantly affect the mental health, physical development, and social and emotional wellbeing of children. Kids don’t even need to directly witness the violence or abuse to be negatively impacted by it. Therefore, it’s important that all practitioners feel confident to talk with parents about the effects of domestic violence on children.

The PERCS Conversation Guide is designed to support both specialist and non-specialist practitioners to have collaborative, respectful conversations with parent-clients about how FDV can affect the whole family. It recognises that all parents want to be the best parent they can be, even in the context of family violence, and that collaborating with parents is the most effective way to support a child’s social and emotional wellbeing.

The guide is a psychosocial discussion tool, developed based on academic evidence and consultations with practitioners and parents. It acknowledges that for many professionals, particularly those working in adult-focused services, it can be difficult to talk with parents about their children, and how the parent’s challenges may be impacting on the rest of the family. However, focusing solely on adult problems means an opportunity is lost to work with the parent in a way that supports both their parenting role and their child’s mental health. By using the information and conversational prompts included in this guide, you can help parents to create a solid foundation for their children’s health outcomes later in life.

The guide includes example questions designed to help you explore the five important domains in a child’s life:

  • Parent-child relationship
  • Emotions and behaviours
  • Routines
  • Communication and meaning-making
  • Support networks.

The PERCS Conversation Guide aims to help professionals to recognise parents’ strengths and hopes for their family, and identify opportunities to support and improve children’s mental health, physical health, resilience and wellbeing. Download a copy of the free conversation guide via the link above.

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