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Enhancing Safety-planning through Evidence-based Interventions with Preschoolers Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence

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Preschool children who witness severe intimate partner violence (IPV) are at increased risk for a wide range of emotional, behavioural, cognitive, and health problems. Although much of intervention research has focused on alleviating their psychological symptoms, we know little about efforts to provide these children with preventative safety training. The Preschool Kids’ Club Program is a 10-session intervention that addresses the psychological adjustment of children and mothers exposed to IPV. It is based on the Kids’ Club Program, which has already proved effective for school-aged children in decreasing behaviour problems and increasing safety-planning skills. The current study describes specific therapeutic strategies for teaching young children safety-planning, and uses qualitative methods to examine children's baseline knowledge of safety-planning and whether or not knowledge of safety-planning improves following participation in the Preschool Kids’ Club Program. Results indicate preschool-aged children are able to learn adaptive safety-planning skills through intervention, but high rates of non-response indicate that much more needs to be done to reinforce safety-planning skills in young children. Clinical implications and recommendations for future research of the current findings are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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