Talking to Your Children About Domestic Violence

Children who are exposed to domestic violence can have a wide range of reactions. Even just being around any type of violence or abuse one time can leave an affect. The initial reactions of a child who has witnessed abuse is usually fear, confusion, and (depending on the age) self-blame. Children process experiences differently than adults, and often differently than how we would expect them to. It’s important to talk with your child about things that they might not fully understand, and to reassure them that they are not to blame for anyone else’s actions.

Other reactions that your child might exhibit can include:

  • Blaming others (for the abuse, or their own actions)
  • Acting out (physically, verbally)
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having trouble at school with peers or academics
  • Complaining of physical ailments/health issues (stomachaches, headaches, etc.)
  • Anxiety/nervousness
  • Avoiding people or activities

These are just a few ways that stress can be acted on. If your child begins acting differently than normal, that may be their way of processing what they have experienced.

Knowing how to start the conversation with your child about domestic abuse can be the hardest part. It’s important to know that you should take the lead in initiating the conversation- most likely, they are too scared or unsure to bring it up themselves. If you are not sure how you want to phrase what you should say, find someone you trust and talk with them about planning it out. Here are a few steps you can take in order to have a constructive conversation with your child:

  • Let them know that you care about them, and want to listen and support them.
  • Ask open-ended questions about what your child thinks happened, and how they felt about it.
  • Listen to what they say without interrupting or judging. You can help them identify some things that they might be feeling. (For example, “I can understand why this made you angry.”)
  • Tell them that what happened is not their fault.
  • Remind them that violence and abuse is not okay. Talk to them in a way that is appropriate for their age (for instance, saying “Sometimes people do bad things” is great for a young child, but a teenager will probably be expecting a more in-depth explanation).
  • Praise their efforts to communicate their thoughts and feelings. (For example, “I’m glad you are talking with me about this.”)
  • Be patient if your child has a hard time understanding, or doesn’t want to talk. You can have other conversations- just let them know that you care and are supporting them.
  • Stay calm, and ask for help if you ever need it. There are a lot of questions that one person may not have all the answers to.

A great way to encourage confidence in children is to talk through some things that they can do whenever they feel unsafe, anxious, or scared. There are lots of different types of safety plans, which can include going to a different place (like their room, or the neighbor’s house, etc.), calling someone you both can trust and feel comfortable talking to, participating in an activity like journaling or a sport, etc. Here are some things you can plan out together with your child:

  • Something they can do whenever they are reminded of violent or abusive experiences- “triggers” (loud noises, raised voices, or actions correlated to certain events). This can be listening to music, reading, or taking a walk.
  • Enrolling your child in a mentoring or out-of-school program where they feel safe, if they are comfortable with it.
  • Talk with them about where they want to do activities like homework, or what they want to read or participate in. Let them make decisions.
  • Encourage your child to talk to people that they feel comfortable with. They might choose to confide in close friends, or a trusted teacher, coach, or counselor.

Make sure that your child knows that they can trust you with their thoughts and feelings. Even if they want to have the more in-depth discussions with other people, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to talk about it ever again with you. Let them take their time in processing what they’ve experienced, and let them know that you will be there for them when they are ready.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Peace at Home can answer any of your questions, and direct you to local resources that can assist you as well.

You can find more specific information on talking with your child based on their age here.

You’re Invited- Bar and Grill Event!

Peace at Home is hosting our second annual Beer and BBQ Cook-Off! Mark off your calendars for April 11th, from 4-7pm, and come enjoy some great food and music at The Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farms.

We’re looking forward to sampling (what we’re confident will be mouth-watering) plates from our cook-off teams, who will be competing for three possible awards: Best Overall Dish, Crowd Favorite Dish, and Best Presentation. Here’s who you can expect to cheer on:

·         Davis Law Firm

·         Catterlin Law Firm

·         Odom Law Firm

·         Wright Lindsey Jennings

·         Friday, Eldredge & Clark

·         Keith, Miller, Butler, Schneider & Pawlik

·         Tyson Foods

The money raised by this event supports the many women and families that come to Peace at Home for help. We provide shelter, legal representation, access to support groups, and help with finding suitable employment for survivors of domestic abuse. Thanks to the response we receive from events like this one, Peace at Home was able to offer 12,321 nights of shelter to families fleeing violence in the past year.

Pre-sale tickets are $30 each, and you can buy them on our website here. At the door tickets are $35 each. Check out our Facebook page event for more information or if you have any questions!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Make a resolution to give back in 2018!

It’s the start of another year and for many people that means it’s time for New Year’s resolutions!

Have you thought about what you want your 2018 to be like? If you want to be more involved with your community, here are a few opportunities we currently have at Peace at Home –

Volunteer with Us

Do you want to do something directly working with families impacted by domestic violence? Do you enjoy working with kids? Every week we host multiple support groups for survivors of domestic violence. We rely on volunteers to provide childcare during the groups and we are currently looking for volunteers to help during any of these support group times:

Monday – 6-7pm

Tuesday – 6-7pm

Wednesday – 6-7pm

Thursdays – 5:30-7:30pm

We ask that volunteers plan to arrive 15 minutes early and stay a few minutes late. Interested volunteers must pass a background check/child maltreatment check and complete 5 hours of training.  If you would like to sign up to volunteer, contact Sarah Kresol at skresol@peaceathomeshelter.com

Host a Donation Drive

A great way to give back is to organize a donation drive at your school, church, or workplace. When needed items are donated to Peace at Home, we don’t have to purchase them. This means more dollars can go to keeping families safe and helping them transition into long-term housing. You can host a donation drive for any category of needed items like bedding, coats, or canned food. Want more ideas of items the shelter needs? Check out our needs list.

Provide Sustaining Support

You can choose to make a difference for families fleeing domestic violence all year long when you sign up for a monthly gift to Peace at Home. We rely on the support from community members like you to help families find hope and healing after violence. Click here to donate once or monthly. To learn more about different ways to make a gift, contact Eva Terry at eterry@peaceathomeshelter.com.

Take Care of Yourself

Are you a survivor of domestic violence? Even if you’ve been living independently for some time, you may find you still need emotional support. Make 2018 the year you take care of yourself and call to speak to an advocate today – 479.442.9811. Peace at Home can provide support groups, counseling, legal services, housing assistance, and someone to listen.

Giving Back on #GivingTuesday


The global day of giving is coming up the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – November 28th, 2017.

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday focus on shopping, Giving Tuesday is about giving back to local nonprofits through charitable gifts.

Peace at Home Family Shelter relies on gifts from community members like you to provide safe shelter and services to families fleeing domestic violence. If you’d like to be a part of Giving Tuesday and give back to Peace at Home, here’s two ways to participate:

  • Donate on our website – if you would like to donate through our website for #GivingTuesday, you can do so by following this link.

  • Shop at Vesta’s in Rogers – Vesta’s will be donating 10% of all sales on Tuesday, November 28th to Peace at Home Family Shelter. Stop by the store on Tuesday to shop and support Peace at Home!

Help make #GivingTuesday a success and Peace at Home!