Child Witness to Violence Project
About This Program
The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Child Witness to Violence Project has been reviewed by the CEBC in the area of: Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence: Services for Women and their Children, but lacks the necessary research evidence to be given a Scientific Rating.
Child Witness to Violence Project at Boston Medical Center provides trauma-focused clinical intervention to children age 8 and younger who have been exposed to domestic or community violence. Approximately 150 families are seen each year; 85% of cases seen are for exposure to domestic violence; 65% of the children are age 6 or younger. The intervention requires the active participation of at least one parent and is focused on addressing the traumatic experiences of the child within the context the child-parent relationship. The intervention incorporates principles of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (Lieberman, Van Horn, et al.) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Cohen, Mannarino, et al).* Components of the intervention include advocacy and case management, parent guidance, along with dyadic and/or individual psychotherapy. Services are primarily outpatient and office-based.
*These programs have been rated by the CEBC under the Trauma Treatment for Children topic area.
Goals of Child Witness to Violence Project:
Please check in the Brief Description section above for the program's goals. If they are not there, the program's representative has not provided these since we began requesting them in Fall 2010.
Target Population: Children age 8 and younger, with the majority being under age six, from a racially diverse urban area.
For children/adolescents ages: 0 – 8
For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 8
- Provides developmentally sensitive early childhood assessments of trauma that are informed by a knowledge of the dynamics of domestic violence.
- Provides developmentally sensitive and domestic violence-informed clinical intervention focused on strengthening the child-parent relationship.
- Provides a trauma-focused intervention that targets maladaptive symptoms in the child.
- Provides parenting guidance when appropriate.
- Provides case management/advocacy when appropriate.
Child Witness to Violence Project was designed with a child/adolescent component that addresses the following presenting problems and symptoms for children/adolescents ages 0 – 8:
- Exposure to the trauma of domestic or community violence; symptoms associated with exposure to violence: aggression, sleep disturbances; conflict in the child-parent relationship; learning difficulties; and difficult peer relationships.
Child Witness to Violence Project was designed with a parent/caregiver component that addresses the following presenting problems and symptoms for parents/caregivers of children ages 0 – 8:
- Conflict in the parent-child relationship; lack of understanding/awareness of the impact of trauma on children; disruption of attachment between parent and child; and stresses/trauma associated with being a victim of domestic violence.
Child Witness to Violence Project was not designed to be conducted in a group setting, and has not been tested for use in a group setting.
Weekly 1 to 1.5 hour sessions.
At least five months.
This program is typically conducted in a(n):
- Birth Family Home
- Outpatient Clinic
This program does not include a homework component.
Child Witness to Violence Project has materials available in a language other than English:
For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).
Resources Needed to Run Program
The typical resources for implementing the program are:
- Play therapy offices stocked with therapeutic toys, books, art supplies, games and materials, private space to conduct all sessions
- Child and adult waiting areas
Minimum Provider Qualifications
Master's or Doctorate-level licensed mental health clinicians.
Education and Training Resources
There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.
- Maxine Weinreb, Ed.D
phone: (617) 414-3662
Training is obtained:
Onsite at Boston Medical Center, or at a site requested by interested professionals.
Number of days/hours:
2 days, 13 hours of training.
There currently are additional qualified resources for training:
- Alicia Lieberman and Patricia Van Horn
Child Trauma Research Project
San Francisco General Hospital
- Joy Osofsky
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
New Orleans, LA
- Julie Larrieu, PhD
Tulane University Infant Team
Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research
This program has been reviewed and it was determined that this program lacks the type of published, peer-reviewed research that meets the CEBC criteria for a scientific rating of 1 – 5. Therefore, the program has been given the classification of "NR - Not able to be Rated." It was reviewed because it was identified by the topic expert as a program being used in the field, or it is being marketed and/or used in California with children receiving services from child welfare or related systems and their parents/caregivers. Some programs that are not rated may have published, peer-reviewed research that does not meet the above stated criteria or may have eligible studies that have not yet been published in the peer-reviewed literature. For more information on the "NR - Not able to be Rated" classification, please see the Scientific Rating Scale.
Child Welfare Outcomes: Not Specified
Currently, there are no published, peer-reviewed research studies for Child Witness to Violence Project.
Groves, B. (2002). Children who see too much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project. Boston: Beacon Press.
Groves, B., & Gewirtz, A. (2006). Interventions with children exposed to domestic violence: Promising approaches. In M. Feerick & G. Silverman (Eds.), Children exposed to violence: research, intervention and policy. (pp. 106-136). Baltimore, MD: Brookes Press.
Groves, B., & Zuckerman, B. (1997). Interventions with parents and caregivers of children who are exposed to violence. In J. Osofsky (Ed.), Children in a violent society (pp. 183-201). New York: Guilford Press.
Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: June 2012
Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2007
Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: March 2007