Responding to Domestic Violence During COVID-19
Brandi Black Thacker: Hello, everybody, and welcome. We're so glad to be with you today, and we're so thrilled to be gathering for such an important discussion at this very moment, on this very day, at this very time. And it's always an honor to be with you. We know all the things that you're juggling and how busy your schedules are. So, thank you for coming and making some space for us. As you come on in and get settled in this virtual environment, what we'd love for you to do is talk to us in the Q&A widget, and I'm going to take you through a little bit about where that is, but many of you have already discovered it in your techno-savvy selves. So, I want to share a few things that have come through already in the Q&A widget and ... 'Cause our question today is, how are you staying connected with others during times of physical distancing? We're collecting all of the good ideas, and we want to share those today. Of course, more and with each other, for and with our families, 'cause it's so important to have each other. So, I see a few things, and I just want to share quickly before we jump into some introductions. I see things like virtual happy hours, video calls. I see things like icebreakers on FaceTime. I see things like, "I use technology to stay connected and create an environment of safety in those virtual environments." Lots of Zoom calls, regular phone calls, FaceTime, virtual home visits, a lot of social media connections. I love this too. Cassandra brings up, "I take a daily walk with my kids." I want to see what she says the rest. "With trips to the park," which is also great. I love this notion because I think sometimes we forget being outside is actually really great, super therapeutic. We can still do that with our, you know, six feet apartness for those folks that don't live in our own household or those folks that, you know, we're not podding.
Here a lot about these pods that are happening. I see cooking, I see walking. Side note, I have a seven-year-old son, and there is this new thing that we're trying out, which is virtual cooking lessons. I'm so tickled with this because he has this new fascination, and you get to do it online and meet friends his same age. So, that's been a neat thing, and then we have this cool product that we can be proud of at the end. So, thank you guys so much for all these ideas. We'll share a few as we go forward. The side note, I want to say this right upfront: One of our favorite things to do with these virtual interactions is not only bring in information, but we also, for the greater good, want to share what you give us. So, we'll be doing that throughout. But this is my most favorite part. At the end of our time together, we take 15 minutes, at least, to hang out. So, if you have questions or you have other things you want to think about and pull apart that we don't get through or to in the content, we stay after so we can have the larger dialogue about what's left for you and what you're still thinking about. We call it the "After Chat." So, hang out with us, and let us know what's on your mind. We definitely want to think about all of the things that are coming up for you today. So, come on in and get comfortable, and let's get started, everybody. Welcome.
All right, so we're all here today to think and talk together about how to respond to domestic violence, specifically during COVID-19. The other relevant emergencies, and we're going to think a lot about what that looks and sounds like together today. I have the distinct honor of hanging out with three incredible women today, and I can't wait for you guys to meet them if you haven't already. We've done some work around the Head Start communities for the last three to four years, so it's possible that you could have seen us out in the world together.
But my name is Brandi Black Thacker, I work for the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. I'm the Director of Training and Technical Assistance in collaboration here and a product of our Head Start world and culture. As a program director, I've done Training and Technical Assistance. And more than anything, I just love what you do each and every day, how you serve, and the way that we've come together in this set of times and then all the sets of times over our five decades. So, I'm literally and physically, you know, Head Start's biggest fan. So, snap. But with all that, I want you to meet three of my most favorite folks from Futures Without Violence, and they are going to say hello to you in a little bit. But today, I have with me Virginia Duplessis, Mie Fukuda, and Dr. Tien Ung. I can't wait for you to spend time with them. They're going to bring forward together today, not only the dialogue around domestic violence but staying connected to and through relationship as we navigate each of these situations with each other. So, stay tuned to hear from them in just a little bit. If you haven't been on this platform before, I want to introduce you to ON24, and I want to show you a few things about how to navigate and get around here. Thankfully, we do get to use webcams today. And, you know, we were having some technical hiccups when we were getting started, but we persevered! So, you'll see each of the presenters in what is called the media player widget, and you can see it there on the screen on the top left-hand side. That's where you'll see each of the speakers. And you'll also if you put your attention down toward that left- hand bottom side of your screen, many of you have already found it, that's the Q&A widget.
From there, you're going to see the slides right in the center of your screen, right in the slide widget portion. You're also going to have a resource widget, which is off to the right top hand side of your screen. And we've uploaded a few things there for you. And, guys, not so secret side note, we have a brand new resource there for you today that we're going to highlight during this discussion. It's not on ECLKC, it's not anywhere else. You're going to get it here first.
So, don't forget to visit that resource pod. And I'll bring that back to you at the end of our time together too. So, if you need to go visit that and make sure you have it, we'll make sure to give you that reminder before we end our time together. And then, of course, we have the speaker bio portion, the platform, it's on the bottom right-hand side. If you need any help, there is also a widget there for that. There are some frequently asked questions that live in a PDF form.
However, if you get stuck with anything, put it in the Q&A widget, and we have absolute experts who are incredible at what they do, ready to jump in and help if you run into any technological issues. Welcome. All right, the other thing that I wanted to say, and we'll say this at the top and at the bottom is the notion of national hotlines. Now, anytime we get into a dialogue around topics that are important and can bring big feelings and can really necessitate a larger dialogue for extra support, help and connection to community, we start and end with important national hotlines. Now, you have these here on the screen. So, as usual, you're welcome to do a screenshot if you'd like to, take a picture with your phone. However, we have these in also a PDF handout for you in that resource widget so that you can access these at any time, and we have two pages of them. So, you see many important ones on here, 24-hour parent support, we have National Domestic Violence Hotlines here, the StrongHearts native helpline. And then you see the ones on the right-hand side that are related to child abuse and neglect. On the second slide here, we also have SAMHSA's Disaster Distress hotline and the
National Suicide Prevention hotline. These are here for you, as I mentioned, not only on the screen but in the handout, and you're going to see these again at the end of our time together. Should you need them or should anybody that you love and support need them. Feel free to share. The last thing I'm going to do is tell you a little bit about what we've planned for you today, and you guys know how we do this. We follow your lead. So, we're going to be watching the question come through that Q&A pod, and side note, there's a special consideration with that. When you say the questions that you have asked or the comments that you're offering, we'll be bringing those out loud as much as possible and making connections to the content. If there are some questions that we get over and over, what we're going to do is what we call standard to all. So, you might see three, four, or five comments that are trends or patterns that we'll answer in writing and that we might send it to the whole group so that you'll see an entire exchange. But we rarely watch and wait to see how that works for you and where your interest takes us to make a decision together, a little bit behind the curtain whether we're going to talk about it out loud in the after chat or whether we'll answer it in writing to you individually or share it with the group.
So, just be aware that this platform works a little differently that way, so there's your anticipatory guidance. We built these learning objectives before we got to meet you. So, this is what we budgeted for our time together, but we will do our best to hover where your interest takes us. And you can see here what we have. We absolutely want to define domestic violence and how it can affect families and children. Now this is a very important part of this discussion 'cause many of you already in the Q&A have asked questions like, "What is domestic violence? What are some signs and symptoms? What are the impacts?" So, we're going to go there. We also want to layer this with our current day and time and how COVID-19 has affected families experiencing DV. We want to think also about the protective factors that support both families and children to heal. And, of course, we have a whole bunch of resources that we want to share with you. So, if they can be useful for you and your work at your program that you have access to those on the ECLKC, and I want to show you where to check those out. I want to say one more thing before I turn it over to Tien. I love this discussion for so many reasons because we get to acknowledge the real, and we get to stand in awareness and acknowledgement. But the thing that I appreciate so much about this dialogue is how we lean into healing and healing- centered engagement. And I just believe in how we do, what we do in Head Start. We're so well positioned. We're so well positioned to continue being the heartbeat of our communities in ways that link people when we need people the most. And in ways that honor where we each are on our journey with no judgment and no stigma. So welcome, everybody. Thank you for coming. And with all of that fanfare, I'm going to turn it over to Dr. Tien.
Tien Ung: Thank you so much, Brandi, for that can – can you hear me, Brandi? Great, fantastic. Thank you so much and thank you so much to you and your colleagues for having us here today. I'm so happy to be here, and I just want to pick up and start with that thread that you just left us with in terms of, you know, walking this journey of healing without judgment against anybody. And really start, first, with the realization that, you know, this is a topic that we know touches many of you or may touch many of you personally. It might also remind you of the experience of someone that you're close with or that you care about very deeply. So, we want to invite you to acknowledge your experiences and to honor your feelings and your reflections, and in that way to do whatever it is that you need to do to pace yourself today, to take care of yourself throughout today's time that we're going to be spending together with you talking about this, whatever you need to be helpful, take a break if that's what you need to doodle while you listen if that's what works for you. But we favor anything that you want to do to pace yourself and to show yourself love and patience, understanding, and compassion. We're all for it. And we definitely want you to do that. So, as I mentioned earlier, and as Brandi was teeing up for us, we are here to talk to you today about domestic violence. And specifically, our goal is to support you in being comfortable and genuine and caring and open-minded when you're talking about domestic violence, especially, with others, and particularly the people that you serve. So, we hope at the end of the time together, you will feel confident talking about domestic violence with others and confident and knowing how to support others who are burdened by it. So, I want to start off a little bit with - with a really quick story about a little Vietnamese girl that I know who came to the states when she was just about three years old with her family fleeing the war. She didn't speak any English at that time. She and her family were placed from a refugee camp in Charlotte, North Carolina, of all places where she spent her early childhood and much of her early adolescence. When this girl got here, she wasn't English speaking and wasn't very much English speaking when she started school either. Her family was receiving public assistance, while her parents were trying to learn English in order to find work. They were a poor family, and they had very few connections at that time. The resettlement policies and practices actually required that Vietnamese refugees were have to be placed at a certain distance apart from one another. And the idea was to help them assimilate into American culture and American society. And the impact though is it was very hard to connect to other families who spoke the same language that you did and saw the world in the same way that you did. But really, this was sort of the least of her problems because this little girl's biggest worries were that her father hit her mom regularly and a lot and it made her mom cry.
So, if you haven't figured it out by now, that little girl was me, and I have very clear memories of this, even from three, and more vivid memories throughout my childhood and into my early adolescence. At that time, the domestic violence stopped only because my father took his own life after he tried to take my mom's. But when I look back on to my childhood, and I think about my experiences where others might have seen cause for concern, danger, risk, limited language proficiency, certainly poverty, anxiety, and worry, maybe even ignorance. I want to share with you that I found love, I found joy, I found friendships, and I found possibilities. You know, I spent my entire personal and professional adult life thinking about this and studying this, you know, how and why is that I could have gone through all of those things and ended up, I think, pretty okay. I'm well educated. I have a family as well who loves me. Children I'm raising without burden and without violence. And I often ask myself, "How did my story get here? You know, what helped me through my worst moments?" And those are going to be some of the things that we're going to be talking to you about today. This is where our story is going to begin together and where my story continues here now with you, and I'm really excited about it because even though I and my sisters didn't have the great benefit of Head Start or your services, I know that there are more than a million children nationwide who are being touched by you and by your professional community. And we know as Mie will share later that there are a lot of children among those one million who will be exposed to DV and will have the experience of DV in their lives. So, I'm really excited to think about beginning with you as community connectors and relaying to you that of those million children, and the ones who are witnessing DV, your role is so important and is so critical in their lives. You may be one of the first people who responds to them in their homes. You will definitely be one of the first people that they can talk to. You might be some of the first people that can affirm or offer a kind word and a body of colleagues and professionals who will be with them in their spaces offering access to information.
So, with that, hats off to you, my little child in me, thanks to you for being there, and I'm excited to launch this conversation with you about domestic violence and how to support children and families. So, we're going to start first with sort of a broad lens and think about how domestic violence is a type of trauma, and trauma is a complex topic that is often talked about in many ways, and sometimes the many phases of trauma can get both confusing and confused. So, before we talk specifically about DV, we want to set the table a little bit about the many faces of trauma. We're going to start off with the simple but accurate idea that trauma, at its core, is about incidents of harm and the impact that they have on our whole selves. Simply stated, from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, child trauma occurs when children are exposed to the events or conditions and situations that overwhelmed them, and this exposure overwhelms their ability to cope. This is also the same case with adults. We know that a critical element of the definition of trauma is a traumatic event, but it's not only isolated to the incident or the event. How the incident or the event is perceived by those who experienced; this is another dimension to consider when we're thinking about trauma. So, in other words, what's traumatic to one child may not necessarily have the same impact on another child. Similarly, sometimes what adults may perceive as traumatic may be very different from what a child considers to be traumatic. A good example of that is that, you know, a parent may believe that a hurricane that destroyed their home was really quite traumatic to them in the family but for the young child that's in that same home and that same family, they may be most upset by losing their pet, their dog, or their cat, that may have run away during the storm. So, it's important to remember that often what children find most upsetting can be very different than what adults believe are most upsetting or most traumatic. And to remember that, even though there are these differences, the well-being of adults and children are inextricably linked. And so, when you're supporting families where trauma happens, it's really important to attempt to understand that children and adults may make their own unique meaning of traumatic experiences and work to help the adults understand some of the differences between their perspectives, and help them navigate some of those differences in ways that can support their children. So, when we talk about incidences of trauma, we're referring to the actual events that cause threat, harm, and in many cases, actual physical, psychological, or spiritual energy. And exploring the nature of these incidences is important when trying to understand the impact of trauma, and, specifically, in thinking about what types of supports and services would be helpful to a family and a child's healing. Incidences of trauma can vary by timing and frequency, for example. They can be acute or chronic, they can become complex, or they can be developmental. They also vary in terms of, sort of, their nature, what's acute or chronic or complex can happen in early childhood, or it can be something like what we're going to be talking about a lot today, which is repetitive and pervasive which is what we call domestic violence, sometimes referred to as gender-based violence. And sometimes, trauma and traumatic experiences and events can be chronic and multiple and acute and happen in early childhood. So, in that context, we're looking at complex, multiple traumas that occur over a prolonged amount of time.
Traumatic events, however, can also have sort of context and a nature to them that's important to understand. So, in this way, traumatic events can be vicarious and that you don't experience the trauma directly, but you witness it and are exposed to it and are still therefore impacted by it. And then there are aspects and context of trauma that can be not related to direct exposure, but could be historical, for example. And sometimes, traumas can be interpersonal in a more collective way. It can be intergenerational, it can be insidious like racism, or it can be community-based. For example, when a whole community experiences a traumatic weather event, for example. As I was saying before, however, we understand the incidence of trauma, whether we're trying to understand the timing, their frequency, the nature or their context, and learning how to recognize those differences. Being trauma-informed really requires that we tune into the impacts of these events on the people, and especially consider how individuals can experience these events differently. That is to say that how we experience the event, how we make meaning of that event, and the impacts that event has on each of us as individual people is really unique. And keeping that individuality and that variability in mind is really important to be a trauma informed. So, understanding trauma in this way, what I like to think of as a full spectrum analysis, the timing, the nature, the context, the experience, and the impacts is what will be most useful in guiding our discussions in our conversations about our own helping behaviors and our responses to survivors. So, let's turn now to thinking about what domestic violence is. It's commonality. What we're seeing and learning about how COVID is affecting or understanding of domestic violence in the families of children and families. And then, we'll explore some of the impacts of domestic violence on children and adults, and then Virginia will talk with us about some strategies for supporting families and talking about domestic violence with the survivors.
Brandi: Thank you so much, Tien. Before we transition to that dialogue, we want to check in with you guys. We're tracking along in the Q&A widget, and we're hearing so many great things from you, not only continued ideas about how you're staying connected during physical distancing times, but also you're asking some incredible questions that we're already collecting for after chat when we stick around as facilitators to think and talk pretty organically based on what you ask and would like to know more about. But what we'd like to do now is think with you about this poll question. So, check it out with me. What differentiates domestic violence from a toxic relationship? Now, we just heard Tien talk to us a little bit about what this looks and sounds like. And you see what your choices are here, pattern of power and control, physical violence, emotional violence, or all of the above. So, we're going to give you just a couple of ... Well, I was going to say me, but really it sickens. Make your choice about what differentiates, and then we're going to look at the poll, your results. So, take just a couple of seconds, enter your choice. And then, Tien, I wonder if you'll hang out with me and help once I publish the results? Talk to us a little bit about what you see here. So, let's take a look. Let's see what you guys think. So far what we see is a big percentage, 88.4%, of all of the above. So, what do you think about this, Tien?
Tien: I love it, and I can see why people would think that domestic violence is all of the above. Mia is going to dive into talking more specifically about how to differentiate between a healthy relationship and unhealthy relationship, a toxic relationship, and a relationship with there's domestic violence. But certainly, having physical violence and emotional violence in a relationship can certainly be toxic. There are very specific things that sort of transform that type of toxic and unhealthy relationship and ways of relating into a relationship where there are significant concerns about domestic violence. So, I'm actually going to hand it over to Mie, Brandi, and let her dive right in and differentiate some of that for our participants today.
Brandi: So, I know, Tien, at one point that Mie was having a couple of technical hiccups. So, let's see if she is able to come off mute. And we'll ... You know, how we do when technology rises up to embarrass you, we'll stall just for a second to give her some space. So, you're seeing on the screen, the definition of what is domestic violence. So, we'll give you a couple of seconds to look at what we have here with some specific words that you might notice or popped out. And some bullet points that differentiate a little bit about what it looks like over time, what it entails or doesn't, and specifically about leaving.
Tien: Yeah, no problem. I'm happy to also dive in a little bit while Mie is working on some of that technology.
Mie Fukuda: Hello.
Tien: Oh, there she is. Hello, Mie. Mie: So, you can hear me OK?
Tien: Yes, we can hear you fine.
Mie: All right. I'm so sorry about that. I've been having some tech issues, but hopefully, that is done and over with. All right, so jumping right in. Thank you so much for answering the poll. And yes, it's a little bit – it's a little bit tricky, but the definition that we use for domestic violence is the one that you're seeing on the screen, which is when one person in a relationship is using a pattern of behaviors to gain and maintain power and control over the other person. And as you can see, the words pattern, power, and control are highlighted to kind of to call your attention. So, domestic violence can happen in any type of relationship, and it can happen to anyone regardless of their race, their gender, their class, sexual orientation, etcetera. And unfortunately, it affects all of our communities. And with domestic violence, it's very common for the abuse to get worse over time. And it doesn't always have to involve physical violence, but it definitely can. And many times, the most dangerous time for the person who's experiencing domestic violence, for them is when they're trying to leave the relationship or the person who's using violence. So, leaving isn't a very ... Leaving an abusive relationship isn't a simple black and white situation oftentimes. It's very complicated and nuanced and can be quite dangerous actually. So, as Tien was saying, relationships can fall on a spectrum of healthy, unhealthy, toxic, and abusive, where there's domestic violence involved. And in a toxic relationship, or even in an unhealthy relationship, you might see conflict and violence similar to what you see in a domestic violence situation. But the key distinction is between the two is that there is one person who has all the power and control over the other person. So, in domestic violence situation, one person has all of the power in the relationship and uses a pattern of behaviors to control the person. So, it's really one-sided. And it's really important not to focus solely on the physical violence, whether there's physical violence present in a relationship as a marker to identify, one, if the relationship is abusive if it has domestic violence or even to understand or identify who the person who's using domestic violence is. Because we see many, many times that the person who's experiencing domestic violence uses physical violence as a defense mechanism. And oftentimes, because people don't have that analysis of power and control when they're trying to assess a situation right that they miscategorized the survivor, the person who's experiencing domestic violence is actually the person who's abusive or maybe they think that they're both abusive, right? And then the survivor doesn't actually get the services that are more supportive, right, and they end up getting referred to more punitive kind of services or they get punished, right, for basically defending themselves. So, I say all of this is not to encourage you to start thinking like, "Oh, wow, now I know the definition. I should start to screen whether or not there's DV in a relationship and trying to assess who is the person who has the power in the relationship and who doesn't." It's more for your understanding, right? That there is a difference between an abusive relationship and then other types of relationships that also might benefit from, you know, services and referrals to, for example, couples counseling. Like we wouldn't recommend ever a couples counseling for a situation where there's domestic violence, but it might be more appropriate for a relationship that's perhaps has a lot of conflict, but there is that imbalance of power and control. And, of course, if you're trying to support a family who's experiencing domestic violence, we highly encourage that you connect with your local DV program.
If you haven't already, build that relationship and check out your state coalition. Every state has a domestic violence coalition if you're trying to support a family. All right. So, let's talk a little bit about how common is domestic violence. Well, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in three women have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. And two in three women of DV related homicides are women. So, like I mentioned, DV can happen to anyone regardless of their race, their class, their sexual intuition, their gender identity, etcetera. But there is a increased risk for Black, indigenous, and other people of color, transgender, non-binary, gender-nonconforming people to experience DV because of factors like racism, homophobia, and transphobia. So, in terms of children, unfortunately, children also experience violence as well, many children. Over 60% of children and youth are exposed to some form of violence. And about 39% of these children reported multiple exposures to violence. And we also know that 40% to 60% of children who live in a home where there's domestic violence present also experienced child abuse and sexual abuse as well. So, that's the co-occurring violence. And these data come from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence, which is available online that you can check out. But the CDC for both of the sites that I just covered on the CDC Violence Prevention website has a bunch of information. And also, if you go to your state coalition's website, they have data and resources that are more relevant to the state's situation. So, I encourage you to look them up as well.
OK, in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen tremendous impact on adult and child survivors of DV, and those – and for those who are targeted by other types of violence as well. And, of course, as more time passes with the pandemic, we learned more and more about how COVID-19 has and continues to affect our communities, and in particular, the adult and child survivors of domestic violence. But one thing that is made super clear is that our various systems are organized to respond, right? And they're structured to think through a response mode and to use response strategies instead of prevention and outreach strategies, and outreach and prevention is just as important as responses in this work. And so later on, today in our webinar, we'll talk about universal education strategy and that focuses on outreach and prevention. So, that you can hopefully consider implementing that approach in your programs to help fill the gap, right, between the over reliance on response and trying to also think a little bit more about doing more outreach and prevention work as well. So, regardless of whether you're experiencing DV, what types of relationship you're in, everybody is experiencing increased vulnerability because of the restrictions on our movements like having to stay at home and practicing social distancing as a precaution for COVID-19. But for DV survivors, particularly, vulnerability is now amplified because they now have even less flexibility to adapt and manage their new reality with the pandemic. If you think about it, you know, talking about the power and control issues that they have to deal with, they have even more demands in their day to day that they have to navigate within the constraints of having somebody in their home that's trying to control them all the time, and also, in terms of safety, for them having to think all the time of how to keep the peace, right, so that they can stay safe and keep their children safe as well. So, both adults and child survivors are staying at home, like we all are, but with a person who's using violence. Now they're with them around the clock, which makes it even more difficult to reach out to their supportive networks, like their friends, their families, accessing services that are supportive because of the pandemic. And stressors. There's an increase in stressors like, you know, being at home 24/7 and being in close proximity with your family members all of the time can be really stressful. And a lot of folks are experiencing financial strains because of losing a job or having their hours reduced, right, significantly. All of these stressors can make the dynamics of power and control even worse. And if you think about, you know, I mentioned a little bit that lead survivors who are trying to leave the person that is abusing them that's hard and of itself and quite dangerous actually.
Now, because of the constraints on our movements, right, and because of COVID and trying to stay safe, on that regard, it makes leaving an abusive relationship even harder. And if you're a survivor of color, you also have to navigate systemic inequities that are also now amplified because of COVID-19. We're seeing that COVID-19 actually is disproportionately impacting Black, indigenous, and other communities of colors, particularly, in the way that the contract and they pass away from the virus. So, there's some very serious layering and compounding that's happening for folks who are also survivors of color. OK. So, in a relationship where there's domestic violence present, the person who's using violence is making all of the demands, right? So, I just want – I want to put this information in the context of the power and controls that we've been talking about that's present in domestic violence. So, if you can imagine the person who's using violence, who has all the control, right, and the power is making all of the demands with their partner and calling all of the shots. I'm so sorry. There's background noise. Let me close my window. Hi. OK. I'm so sorry about that. All right. Where was I? Yeah, so they're making all of – they're calling all the shots in the relationship, and so, in the context of COVID- 19, it's all about their experiences and their needs around the pandemic. So, there's no, "We're in this together," right, which is what you would see in a healthy relationship like, "Let's make decisions together. I want to know what you're feeling, I want to know what your needs are, and I can tell you what my needs are, and so, we can compromise, and we can work as a team." When there's a relationship, whether it isn't that dynamic, that healthy dynamic of working together. This list on the slide is some of the ways that COVID-19 just helps, right, the person who is using violence to extend their control that they already have over their partner. So, for example, if a person who is experiencing anxiety over getting sick with COVID-19, or they might be denying the realness of COVID-19 as a real threat, that might show up in the ways that they're trying to isolate, exploit, regulate, deprive, all of that. And some examples I can offer is, in terms of isolation, a person might be even more regulating around phone and Internet usage now as a way to isolate the person that they're causing harm to. And they might also refuse to work because they don't want to risk contracting COVID-19, but they're putting pressure on their partner to work instead. So, these are just some examples, and I'm going to pass it back over to my colleague Tien to walk us through some trauma science and a little bit more about the impacts that trauma can have on children.
Brandi: Thank you for that, Mie. I'm going to jump in. This is not Tien. This is Brandi. Hello, again, everyone. We're going to look at a poll together to check in, but I want Mie and Tien to hang out with me 'cause we're going to explore these ideas as a team. So, you guys can see the poll here. Now, Mie, just took us through a lot of important information, a lot of differentiation, and the definitions and the connections and how these pieces come together. So, what we want to ask now is understanding the impacts of trauma involve understanding what. Now you have a scroll bar on the right-hand side, so you'll see that there are actually one, two, three, four, five choices. And those first ones are the timing of the traumatic incident, context, the nature of it, the individual variability or all of the above. So, I'm going to pause here for a second and check on Tien and make sure that her audio is working. And see what you guys Mie or Tien would add to this before we publish the results.
Tien: Thank you, Brandi. I really appreciate the question. Can you hear me? I feel like I'm on a mobile – I feel like I'm on a mobile commercial. Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? So, thank you, everybody. Yeah, this question ... I appreciate that, Brandi, this question is really about – this question is really about inviting everybody on this call, right, to really take this full spectrum. I like to think about it as a full spectrum analysis of trauma. You know, it's not uncommon when we are either publicly or in our professional context. When we think about trauma, people tend to narrow in and think a lot about the incidences or the events that are traumatic. If you kind of think about the way our service delivery system is set up, we have a lot of energy and resources deployed going to sort of managing, sort of then responding to incidences and events of trauma. And this question is really trying to get to that place of reinforcing for everybody on this call that when we want to be trauma-informed, the best way to do that is to have this full spectrum lens, right? So, if you haven't put your answer in already, I'm going to give you a big spoiler and say it should be all of the above, right? A full spectrum lens means that we want to be thinking about the timing of a traumatic event because, you know, whether that experience happened in childhood and early childhood or adolescence or adult in somebody's adult life that makes a big difference. We want to be thinking about sort of the context, and the nature of that trauma, right? Was it acute, was it a traumatic experience that was prolonged and chronic? So, you had one experience that is prolonged and chronic over a period of time, like the experience of DV, which is something that, you know, happens over time? Or is it a matter of sort of having cumulative or multiple trauma which is what we call, you know, complex trauma? Experiencing different forms of trauma, perhaps sexual assault, DV and any event sort of ... In my case, right, I had trauma exposure. I had familial incest that I was exposed to. And I was also, you know, a survivor of war. So, that's what people would refer to as a sort of complex trauma. And then across all of that, as we're thinking about all of that, we cannot forget that every person responds differently to all of these experiences and incidences and makes meaning based on who they are, their cultural identities, and their relationships with others. And so being trauma-informed requires that we kind of look at all those things together to make sense for ourselves. So, we can think about what types of services and supports we might, you know, design for children and families, but also so that we can really help to understand any child in any family's unique experience.
I'm going to pick up from here, Brandi, and take us through as Mie was saying. So having this full spectrum analysis requires an understanding of, you know, how do these outside experiences, traumatic experiences, like violence exposure or domestic violence how does that get under the skin? 'Cause we know from the science and the research over the last 10 to 15 years, there's been an explosion of science and research, and we know that adversity and trauma can get under our skin and negatively impact our health. There's a lot ... I'm sure all of you on this call have heard of aces and understand the ways in which aces impacts our health. But there's also been a lot of science that we wanted to share about how the outside gets in and under our skin and actually influences our bodies, influences us biologically.
And so, we know from both a broad body of science in terms of epigenetic science, molecular, and cellular biology, neuroscience, as well as developmental science, and social sciences that adversity and negative experiences chronic exposure to that gets into the skin and can affect things like our brain development. It can affect things like the ways in which our DNA or our genes actually get expressed. It can affect our immune system. So, how our body sort of fights disease and responds to disease. The experience of chronic adversity can also increase the risk of heart and lung disease. It infects ... Excuse me, it affects our hormonal system, and we know from this broad body of research that chronic and early adversity, like experience or exposure to domestic violence can, in some cases, shorten life expectancy by as much as 20 years. So, those are things that we wanted to really help this community understand that. Sometimes when we're thinking about finding the right supports and services for children and families, that it is not just about making sure that they have the rights or social supports and services and the right therapeutic and behavioral supports and services, but also involves making sure that we are making referrals to our health care providers as well. So, that people's health can be looked after if we know that they have a long history or some exposure to domestic violence. So, in getting under the skin, as I just said, the outside can impact us biologically, but we also know that the experience of trauma can impact us psychologically, and it can impact us socially. So, that is to say that the experience of trauma, like exposure to an experience of domestic violence, can impact how we think, feel, act, and engage with others, and connect to others.
And this is particularly true for children, especially in the case of domestic violence. You know, seeing your caregiver or your parent harmed or threatened can be a very overwhelming experience and can threaten and overwhelm a child's sense of safety. You know, it's hard for young children to keep themselves safe because they rely on the adults in their lives to keep them physically and emotionally safe, which makes the experience and exposure to domestic violence incredibly threatening and scary. It's not uncommon, for example, for young children to believe that they're at fault or that they've done something wrong. It's also not uncommon to see children as young as the ones that you're serving, you know, toddlers, three, four, or five-year-olds, you know, trying to find ways to solve that problem asking, you know, a parent to stop hurting another parent, or sometimes even, you know, intervening as young as four or five and, you know, stepping in and trying to get the violence to stop. But there's a lot of good news, which is what Mie is going to sort of step back in and share with us about the ways in which these physical, biological, psychological, and social consequences can be buffered and mitigated depending on the experiences and the conditions that we as adults, meaning parents, caregivers, helpers, can design and create for children and their families on a day-to-day basis in their homes and in their communities. So, now that you have a nice full-spectrum understanding of what trauma is, and you have a sense of the ways in which trauma can impact our bodies and ourselves biologically, psychologically, and socially we're going to step into talking with you a little bit about all of the great news, which is another body of science called the science of resilience. And everything in the science that we know so far about the science of resilience, how we use that in our work and what we can do to create and design those experiences and conditions that help children and families get better, do well, stay well, and thrive even in the face of adversity.
Mie: Hello, can you hear me? Tien: Yes.
Mie: All right, and there's no noise outside. I am all set. OK. So, thank you, Tien. Now that we have all of this information about what domestic violence says, trauma, and its impacts on adults and children who are experiencing domestic violence, we know that the, "Well, what next? How can we help support families who are experiencing violence" type of questions are probably top of mind for you all, and we've been thinking about this too. And we came up with a list of design principles that we call design principles that are rooted in the science of helping families do better, get better, and thrive. And so, these principles, regardless of what your position or role is, whether you help design program, you help design interventions, whether you design policy or whether you work directly as a provider or working directly with families. These principles are meant to help you design to create the experiences, which is the interactions that we have with one another and with our environments, and then the conditions which are the contexts and the environments in which those interactions happen.
So, for you to design them that helps keep family safe and to promote their healing and well- being. So, the principles are to reduce burden and stress on children and their families, enable positive family interactions that the child, parent, sibling, prioritize safer and more stable living conditions, promote equity, encourage predictability and harm reduction, along with healthy social, spiritual, and community connection. Build and practice core life skills with children and families, which aim to attend to the problem solving and planning skills, growth mindset, physical and emotional regulation, incremental goal setting, and then to limit non-COVID related restrictions and bureaucracy and increase support, fuel positive activities and foster joy, and collaborate with others to increase childhood opportunities in local neighborhoods. So, we know that you all are the experts in your role, in your agencies, in your communities. So, this list isn't intended to be concrete strategies or specific strategies that we are saying you could use. That's up to you. So, these are meant for you to have guidance when we're thinking about what is best, what's supportive for adult and child survivors who are experiencing domestic violence in their healing and thriving. And that's why they're a little bit more broad and so there is guidance for crafting strategies. So, the question that we want to encourage you all to ask yourself with this list is how can these principles inform the practice intervention and policy design in our Head Start program. So, as Tien said before, not all children are equally impacted by violence and adversity because of individual variability, then ensuring context and timing of the traumatic events. And actually, interestingly enough, in the context of DV, it's actually not uncommon in the public – for the public to minimize the impacts of domestic violence on children either because they think that children are too young to remember the domestic violence that they're exposed to or the conflict that they're exposed to that they don't understand what's happening and that so they won't remember, right? And so, therefore, they're not impacted. So, we know ... And you all know that and the science tells us that they actually do remember and are - are impacted. But the good news is that even though there's individual variability and experiences and children are definitely impacted by violence that - that's not the full story that they can heal. And so, I'm going to talk in the next section here about ways that we can help children on healing and ability to thrive. So, here's a poll. I don't know, Brandi, did you want to take us through the poll, or should I just take us through?
Brandi: Go for it.
Mie: Okay. All right. So, here's a poll for us to answer. So, the question is – and this is a true or false so you have to pick true or false – resilience is a character trait people are born with that can change over time and under different circumstances. So, I'm going to give you a couple of seconds to answer that. Resilience is a character trait people are born with that can change over time and under certain, I'm sorry, under different circumstances. All right, let's take a little look of what you all – How you all responded. Whoo! OK, so almost 80% of you responded true. That resilience is a character trait people are born with that can change over time and under different circumstances - under circumstances – under different circumstances, and then 25% of you said that that's not true. Well, the answer is ta-da. That's my little drumroll. It is false. So, it was a tricky question though, and we did that on purpose because we're like, well, by this point, you know, folks are answering, I think, like four polls so they have their, like, you know, their juices up and running, and so, we wanted to test you a little bit of harder, but so it's actually a two-parter so the second part of the question is true. And the first part is that - is the part that's not true. So, the first part is that about the character trait so - so resilience is not a trait a character trait that people are born with. Character traits can help us acquire resilience, you know, like if you - you're leaning towards being more self-determined and like, you are motivated and you are really good at organization and things like that, you are more cooperative. So, those are character traits that we have maybe a more leniency on than maybe other people that can help with exercising that resilience muscle, but this idea that like some people can be resilient and others are not is false. So the definition ... Oh, it's not on the ... Let's see. Oh, here we go. The definition of resilience that we use is the observable, often measurable processes that are identified as helpful to individuals, families, and communities to overcome adversity. So, what we know from the science of resilience is that resilience is more like a muscle. So, the more you exercise it, the more you use it, the more you can strengthen, build, condition, and then like a muscle if you don't, it can weaken and atrophy. So, the - the key takeaway around resilience is that it's about the experiences and the conditions that we create, and we cultivate that either help people adapt to grow from and thrive from adversity or - or not, right? So, in the next few slides, I'm going to give a broad landscape overview of the science of resilience. And I'm going to start with what does a resilience building? What does resilience building through a two-generational approach involved? And then I'm going to transition into what are the specific important conditions and experiences needed to cultivate healing and thriving for survivors of domestic violence, and then I'm going to end with some five - five everyday gestures list that you can use with children and help parents learn how to use the gestures as well in order to cultivate resilience in children.
All right. OK. So, I want to call your attention to the six - the six components of resilience, that are help – that are important to cultivate with both parents and adults in a child's life, doesn't have to be a parent, and children because adults can help create the conditions and experiences for their children to exercise that resilience muscle that I was talking about, and therefore promote and sustain their resilience. So, this is the two-generational approach that we want to emphasize is really important, and in Head Start, it's perfect because you already have this framework. Head Start, y'all are really great at thinking about and knowing that like, if you support parent growth and well-being, it positively impacts and is connected to their children's well-being and growth, right? So, it's same - same situation here. Domestic violence and trauma impacts these components so it's even more important and pertinent and meaningful to focus on attending to - to these for folks who are experiencing domestic violence, like for example, let's see, let's take one of these components. So, gaslighting. I don't know if this is a term you're familiar with, but gaslighting is when one person makes the other person through psychological manipulation, doubt their sanity and question reality. So, gaslighting is a very common tactic in domestic violence. And so, if you are being gaslit, you start to question whether you can read or understand people, which is the – which is part of the relationship's component here in the diagram. And DV also disrupts your energy. You might not be sleeping as much. You might not have time to think about exercising, right? You're not experiencing that harmony. And DV makes it hard to also set priorities because you're consistently stressed out. And so ... And as you can see, they're connected in this diagram, in this visual, and that's on purpose because these components are interrelated and connected.
So, you can really, it's not linear like you start here, and you end here, you can start anywhere. And if you're attending to one of these components, you're already laying the foundation for the other ones as well. So, if you're creating, for example, conditions for children to increase their energy by thinking about their nutrition, their sleep, exercise, their movement, you're also increasing their bandwidth for building their emotional intelligence and setting goals and priorities. So, that's just an example of how, you know, they're connected, and if you're interested in learning more about resilience and resilience science, I encourage you to look up Ann Masten, A-N-N M-A-S-T-E-N, who actually created this along with other scientists, and she's a pioneer in resilience science and is known to - is known to refer to resilience as ordinary magic because resilience doesn't require these extraordinary resources but instead it's the result of implementing more like basic systems. So, I highly recommend doing a little bit more research if you're interested in learning more about resilience.
All right, so we're moving into specifically what are things that are helpful for survivors of DV. So, the specific individual and relational attributes, environments, and conditions that help survivors of DV heal and thrive both adults and child survivors of DV is what we call here protective factors is to reduce the impact of DV risk factors, build individual strengths, promote healthy development, and establish environments that support the safety, healing, and well- being of parents and children experiencing DV. So, these are ... What you're seeing is a graphic that has five interrelated similar to the components of resilience, five interrelated protective factors that are specific to child and adult survivors of domestic violence that we know from research and science buffers the negative impacts of DV and promotes the healing for both adult and child survivors of DV. And this is a graphic that we produced through a different project called the Quality Improvement Center on DV and child welfare, which is a National Research Project. And you can learn more on our website that's funded by the Children's Bureau, but as you can see, they're interconnected so similar to the resilience piece when you... So, think of this as more of like an ecosystem of wellness and growth, and these five factors represent the types of experiences and conditions that benefit and protect survivors of domestic violence from both immediate and short and long-term harm. And when you're promoting one of them, you're laying the foundation for others as well. So, just going through them, it's the protective factors are safer - safer and more stable conditions, social, cultural, and spiritual connections, resilience, and a growth mindset, nurturing parent-child interactions, and social and emotional abilities. And lastly, I want to introduce you to five gestures that can help children heal. And these are more strategies that are specific, right, and concrete that you or any adult in a child's life can practice in order to create positive interpersonal interactions that help cultivate positive experiences for children and supports their healthy development.
And, you know, to be honest, like there is... And Brandi says this all the time that this is not just for children, of course, as an adult, it's also very nurturing and supportive of our growth to experience, comfort, you know, having someone listen to us, inspiring us, and collaborating with us and celebrating us. These are all things that we can do with children, but we'd like to encourage that we can do that with each other as well. So, I'm going to end here, and I'm going to ... Let's see, is there a poll? I got that messed up last time. No, there is not. So, I'm going to pass it over to my colleague, Virginia, to talk about that universal education, like, prevention and outreach strategy that I spoke about at the beginning of the webinar and ways that we can talk to families about domestic violence during the pandemic.
Virginia Duplessis: Great. Thank you so much, Mie and Tien for your wonderful presentations. That gave us a lot of context about definitions of domestic violence, impact of domestic violence, and I'm sure has piqued a lot of your interest and questions about what can we do right now, right? As the world is different and changing. For example, I am joining you from Northern California, where the air is full of smoke and adds another layer, right to this idea of social or physical distancing. So, right off the bat, I would like to share the resource that is on this screen that is also in the resource widget, and it's called, "Talking with Families About Domestic Violence During COVID and Other Emergencies." What can we do during physical distancing? So, I have to say that a lot of what I'll be talking about in this brief overview is actually in this resource. So, just know that you've got some good written guidance that you'll be able to take with you. It's a pretty long document and walks you through some steps of how we can, during this time of physical distancing and still connect with families, right, and do universal education. And of course, support any families that we do identify as experiencing violence. So, a lot of what's in the handout, and a lot of what I'll be talking about is actually based on intervention called CUES, which was originally developed in health care settings, and it's an evidence-based intervention that is basically a conversation between a helper, supporter, provider, and a patient, a family member, a community member. So, what we did in our work, in collaboration with the National Center for Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, is adopt this intervention so that it could be applied in Head Start and Early Head Start settings.
So, I'm very excited about this approach that really walks you through how you can effectively and compassionately talk about these issues with families. So, the basics of the intervention, it's called CUES an acronym, which we're very excited about coming up with an acronym. The C stands for confidentiality. So, before you have any conversations about violence, abuse, harm, you want to make sure that the people that you're talking to understand what you'd be able to keep confidential and private, and what you would need to share with others. So, as you know, many families are reluctant to talk about some things because of worries about systems involvement, right? Child abuse reports, calling the police that kind of thing. So, from the beginning, we want to make sure that families have a choice in what information they're sharing, and knowing that what - what we'll be able to remain within that one-on-one conversation. And then another really important piece of confidentiality, especially, when we're talking about relationships is that you can talk to the parent one-on-one, right? So, you wouldn't want the partner also in the room. So, that's the C in CUES. The U and E in CUES is universal education and empowerment. So really, we've moved from thinking about domestic violence as something that we screen and refer for, right? So, you have a question on an intake form that you're just kind of buzzing through. And if someone checks off, yes, that they are scared at home or their partner is harming them, then that's the only time that you talk about these issues, and then provide a referral. With a universal education approach, you actually talk with everyone, right? You provide information on healthy and safe relationships. What resources are available? And then also importantly, which I'm going to touch on a little bit more, in a couple of slides, how to help a friend. We have really found that the power of this intervention is this piece of altruism. And knowing that, you know, even if I'm not experiencing this, my relationship is safe and healthy.
If I know someone who's being hurt, I am empowered to have this information to share with them about how they can, you know, get support. And then that – so that's U and E in CUES, and then the S stands for support. If domestic violence is disclosed, we want everyone to have at their disposal some information on some harm reduction strategies. So, we know that we are not going to be able to swoop in and make everything better, but we can offer some suggestions to help be safer, right? We can't enter this work thinking that we'll be able to fix everything, but we can - we can certainly offer some options to increase safety, and then making a warm referral to advocacy services. So, making sure that if someone does share they're being hurt, we can connect them with other caring advocates, and then, if domestic violence is not disclosed, of course, we want to make sure we're still providing information about resources. We know that even if we are the most compassionate helpers who opened the door to have conversations, we might suspect that something's happening in the relationship and folks don't feel safe sharing. That's OK. And pretty typical actually so we still want to make sure even if someone says nope, everything's cool, that we provide information about what those local advocacy resources are. All right. So that's a little bit about CUES. We are going to take a little poll now. Have you use texting to communicate with families about health and wellness resources in the past? So, this does not have to be about COVID or domestic violence, and you want to answer that on your screen, the yes or no, rather than in the Q&A so we can see the results. I'm going to give it just a couple of seconds. And what was really exciting to me at the beginning with icebreaker is the question about how do you stay connected, and there was already a lot of answers that had to do with being connected virtually through text, through social media. So, you are a very savvy group when it comes to this kind of technology, it seems that you've been able to kind of pick up and - and move to that virtual space for - for some of you. All right, so let's see the results. So, it looks like three quarters of you had already been using texting to communicate with families. That's great. Because we are going to talk about in this CUES intervention, how you might be able to use texting as one of those strategies to be connected. All right. So, as you think about telehealth and connecting on video or phone just always wanting to make sure when we have conversations about relationship quality and relationship safety, that we are keeping our minds at the forefront is going to be safety, right? So, we know that screening can be dangerous because if someone is experiencing violence, oftentimes, their partner is doing a lot of monitoring, and I know that Mie talked about some of the special considerations during COVID. So, just to underscore, you know, the kind of monitoring that happens through technology in terms of reading the - the chats, and texts, and emails, impersonating people in text, and what we've heard in not necessarily Head Start settings but more broadly from survivors and communities as that they don't really have digital privacy.
So, really kind of sussing out how safe it is to be communicating digitally when you can kind of leave a footprint, and then the other thing to really think about as, again, Mie mentioned some of the - the impacts and certain strategies that people that are using violence and harm against their partners. Some of it is related to health and well-being, not letting people sleep, not letting people wear masks or, you know, all kinds of things. So, just remembering this - this whole context how things can be elevated in terms of harm and risk during COVID. So again, as we move into this discussion of universal education, really thinking about how we can talk with families about what healthy relationships look and feel like in doing this work for, you know, over 20 years, I can tell you that oftentimes we hear from community members that they've never had a chance to - to have that conversation. So, you know, really talking very concretely about what respect open communication looks like, is - is a key for this. Making sure everyone receives information on those support services. And I think that, you know, again, underscoring, really part of the strength of universal education is getting this information out to everyone, especially for people who have had negative experiences or who don't trust systems, right? So, this may be the only opportunity for folks to have these conversations, you have a very special relationships with the families and communities that you are walking besides. And so we want to make sure that we are capturing that moment. We know that universal education also really improves us to advocacy and support services. And what part of what you can do is you're basically an ambassador, right? For other programs in your community and what services they offer. There's a lot of misunderstanding about what advocates do or who they are. And so you have that chance to do some education on that. And it's also sharing power. So, you're not the only person that has information about what important community resources out there, you're saying this is for you as well, just because I am a Head Start employee, and I may have this file full of, you know, great resources and information, I want to make sure that you have access to - to that too, you're not as much of a gatekeeper. So ... In thinking about sharing information, and, you know, in this age where we're relying on technology, again, circling back to the safety, asking if it's safe to receive texts, doing some counseling on how to delete call history and text. So, if you do have a conversation and things come up, the person that you're supporting can delete all records, clearing the browsing data and history on the computer. So, if someone is looking up information about how to get help, it won't - it won't show up. You can do incognito windows and - and all kinds of things. Some people have a strategy in terms of on the ... If they're going to have information on their phone to not have it be the name of the program, right? So, storing it as a contact under maybe the name of your hair salon or grocery store so that if you do have someone who's taking a look at your phone, and who you're calling it won't be obvious. And then if you are doing video visits, then using the chat function rather than emailing things or texting things because the chats stay on the platform rather than follow the - the people who are in that visit. And in the resource widget, there's also some great information on a digital safety project that is has been put together by the national network to end domestic violence that has a lot of ... It can walk you through a lot of these technology safety tips. I, for one, I'm not great with the technology.
So, I would definitely need to refer to that document to do a lot of the things that are on the screen. So, before you have any conversations about relationships, certainly figuring out, "Is it possible to talk privately?" So figuring out who's in the room. "Is it still a good time to talk? Or do you have a private space where we can talk?" And making some suggestions, you know, if there's a different place that they can go in the car, in the bathroom, taking a walk, of course, you know, wearing a mask, in the garage, and if it seems like it's - it's not possible, it's okay to reschedule for a better time and kind of figuring that out because number one is safety. So, you want to make sure that you can do this in a way where there's privacy, and then remembering, you know, if older children are present, you know, are there ways that they can have them occupied, you know, having a headset? I mean, we all remember being a little kid, right? And - and listening overhearing what adults were talking about so wanting to make sure that's not a risk. And, you know, again, kind of trusting your intuitions you have - you use your professional judgment all the time to really figure out, you know, is it appropriate to have conversations about all kinds of things? So, really believe your gut if it's telling you now's not - not the right time. So, then when you go to start the conversation, really you want to make sure that folks understand this is something that you're talking about with everyone. You never want a family member to feel like they're being singled out, right? Like they have DV written across their forehead. It's so important, you know, Mie a shared how common these experiences are, so we can safely assume that those kinds of numbers in terms of how common it is, it's going to be the same within our - our Head Start program. So, a couple of kind of conversation starters because of the added stress we're all feeling right now we're sharing information about resources that are available. For example, we have more - we may have more fighting or arguments, and that can affect our health. "Can we talk about how things are going in your relationship?" Right? So, you're not saying you seem stressed or again, kind of calling out anything that they have said or done. That is triggering this conversation. It's a universal approach, and then, as I mentioned earlier, I think right now, it's so important to lean into this idea of I am sharing this information with you to also share with friends and family because right now when it feels, for some people it feels like the world is falling apart. So, dysregulated, confused, scared, feeling helpless. The one thing that we know can help in those times when we're feeling so lost is helping other people, you know, there's a really good science, that being a helper and supporting someone else helps us build our own strength and resilience. So here's a way that we can not only address, you know, prevent and respond to violence, but also build up kind of fluff up our people, right? And give them that extra boost of confidence and strength. So, I did want to direct you to another resource that is in the resource widget and also on ECLKC, and it talks about strategies to support families who may be experiencing domestic violence. And I think that this resource does a really good job, really outlining what we can do. You know, actually not just with families that are in our Head Start programs but just in our lives, right? So, how can we make sure that we are, as Mie presented, you know, implementing some of those design principles into our conversations with folks in our - in our lives. So, as I ... Sorry, the computer did something tricky there.
So, I did also want to direct you to this great kind of treasure trove of resources about domestic violence on ECLKC. It is a collection of kind of information resources, some tools that you might be able to integrate into your practices at Head Start on ECLKC. And in addition to the resources that we've shared here, it has information kind of on the basics of domestic violence and has a lot more information on the CUES intervention, you know, in typical times, we would do that in person with a - a tool kind of a brochure or a little safety card. So, that information is there as well. And also lots of great resources in terms of national and state resources that you can reach out to. All right, we're going to do another poll. So, I would love to hear how you connected with your local domestic violence programs, and you can choose more than one. As I mentioned, you know, you all are basically the ambassadors, the connectors to these domestic violence programs. So, I'm just kind of curious to hear from the peanut gallery, what you all have already engaged in. So, maybe you have their brochures, maybe you've attended a training or workshop they've offered, called them to find out about their services, made referrals, or maybe this is all new information about those local programs and you haven't connected yet and that's okay. And hopefully, today, we'll inspire making those connections.
So, I'm just going to another second and just in terms of knowing about your local domestic violence programs, a couple of things I always like to highlight, one of the misconceptions is that domestic violence programs are basically only for people who want to call the police have a restraining order or in a critical situation where they need to go into emergency shelter. And that is not true. Actually, most of the services that domestic violence programs offer are called nonresidential services. So going to support groups, individual counseling, children services. So just know that it doesn't have to be at that like emergency middle of the night situation to access services, they're all free and all confidential, which are two elements that many families are - are concerned about. All right, so let's see that results. So it looks like over half of you have their brochures and safety cards, which is great. Many of you have also attended trainings, call to find out about their services, I encourage you to do that. As soon as you can for those who haven't just to find out more about what they're about. And also, that way, if you do need to make a warm referral to someone, you can give them a sense of, you know, what the program offers and their staffing looks like over a third have made referrals. And some of you haven't made that connection yet, which again, that's okay. And I encourage you to - to think about doing that as one of your action steps after today's webinar. [Important Takeaways] So I'm going to wrap up in just a minute and really... Just remembering that the important takeaways here are making sure that every parent has knowledge about where to seek help for domestic violence and other needs, right? So again, a universal approach to providing that information, you do want to make that warm referral if needed. So, having a connection and knowing about your local domestic violence program is really important. We know that referrals are more likely to be successful if it is a warm referral. If you're able to say, "I know about this program downtown that helps folks who have been in situation like yours do you want to call together?" Of course, if someone discloses that they are experiencing harm or violence or abuse, letting them know that they have your support and understanding that message of support and validation and non-judgment is really important. And, gosh, that's a no - no pressure anything but just really knowing that your actions may save lives. We have heard so many stories of - of people who, you know, just a caring helper, asking them about their relationship, expressing concern, and offering them information on, you know, support that they may want need or deserve is - is really a lifesaver literally and figuratively. So, before I turn it over, I would love to do a little bit of another kind of shout-out poll about the kinds of self-care strategies we have, gosh, covered a lot of really hard information.
Certainly, we've leaned into prevention and hope, resilience, healing, but doing this work takes its toll, and we all want to make sure that we have some strategies to take care of ourselves. So, I'm going to give you an opportunity to - to type into that chat box, and I don't think the results are going to come up because it's an open response. So, we'll have someone take a look and maybe lift up a couple of those strategies after I go through these next two slides. So, remembering that taking care of yourself and your colleagues is taking care of Head Start families, please do not feel guilty or shamed that you need to have extra time for yourself. It is such, I mean, it sounds so dramatic, and you probably hear it a million times a day, right? These are unprecedented times. We're all figuring out how to take care of ourselves, our families, our communities. It's incredibly stressful, right? And we know that stress - stress is contagious. You can be having a great day and then you have interactions with other people who are stressed out. And boom! You're right with them. And trauma is really disorganizing. So, it's hard to stay centered and focused when we are experiencing stress. And this is basically a group trauma that we're all going through with COVID, with the other kinds of natural disasters that have been experienced, you know, around the country, civil unrest, it's a lot to take on. So acknowledging that burnout and vicarious trauma are real. And we have to take care of ourselves in order to be effective. So a little bit about, you know, that old analogy to being on the airplane where you have to put on your own oxygen mask first before you can help others. And just remembering on the flip side, I always got to come in with the - the silver lining and positive. Stress is contagious, but loving care is also contagious, right? Our attitudes affect how families feel about themselves. So, I want to share in closing just a couple of resources that are some great resources on ECLKC as well, and these were gathered as additional resources that you can, you can take a screenshot of this. And just know that online, there are many tools that are available in order to really build additional strategies for taking care of ourselves since we're under ... It just an incredible amount of stress and worry right now. All right. And with that, I will hand it back over to Brandi.
Brandi: Thank you so much for all of that, Virginia. Well, before we look at the National Hotline, I'm going to back up one more time because you guys have so many nice things to say about how you care for yourselves. And, Virginia, let me just give – let me just give you my serious look. Thank you for reminding us that we don't need to feel guilty. I know who we are in Head Start, we have a heart to serve, and it means so much to who we are as people and professionals. Sometimes, I would humbly submit, we don't take great care of ourselves as we do of others. And I don't want it to sound like that old analogy we hear all the time about the airplane and the oxygen mask, and since none of us around airplanes, I just want to share with you some of the real live ideas that have come through the Q&A. I hear folks here and seeing folks saying things like, I actually talk about my stress like I'm vulnerable, I'm owning, and being aware of what's happening for me, in my body, and in my brain, and what that looks and feels like and I - I talk about it. I see things like, "I do, breathing exercises," that "I do – I drink coffee with peers and friends." Coffee is for me too. We're talking about that as we were signing on today. We also see things like taking a walk soaking in a warm bath things like practicing mindfulness, gardening, going for long walks, working out. I need to hand out with a little more there Miranda, to help you to get the work. So, watching vacation tour videos, readings so you guys have all of these incredible ideas. And I know that together, we'll continue to come up with more because you're taking such good care of those around you. We personally want to make sure that you're making the space to care of yourself too. So, thank you for those, Virginia, and, Mie and Tien, oh my goodness, didn't I tell you guys – did I tell you guys, or what? That these women are just incredible in their stories, in their wisdom, in the leaning into resilience and healing. And we have so many questions from you that we're going to get to here in a little bit so please continue to hang out with us. I want to show you a couple more things before we go into what we call our “After Chat” or the live Q&A. As I mentioned at the top of our time together, we have two slides of National Hotlines. Now at least one of you asked, "Where do I find those" in the Q&A. So, let me tell you, these slides are embedded in a PDF document that is in your resource widget. They are embedded at the top of our PowerPoint presentation and of course, here on the back end. So, if you need these for yourself or for folks that you support, whether they be part of your program or your family, your faith community, your larger community. I love, Virginia, what you said about CUES which is, you know, part of our own healing journey is to be able to support others through theirs. So, if you need these, feel free to use them. And we have, again, a reminder two slabs, the second of which supports the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, and also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. One of the things that I want to offer here too, one of you asked, "What is ECLKC?" That's such a good question. If you haven't been in our Head Start community forever, this is the great thing to know it's an alphabet soup to unpack. So ECLKC, it is an acronym now depends on where you live, you're going to hear one of three ways. ECLKC, ECLKC, or the E-C-L-K-C all the same place. And it stands for Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. And let me tell it to you the way I want to today. Are you ready? Let me get a little accolade, you know. Like, I've ever had to ask permission, right? It's the Head Start hip-hop happened on hotspot. Snap. Everything that we as a cohort of national centers create for you everything that the Office of Head Start wants to communicate, goes on to that website. All of the resources that Virginia gave a nod to including side note, the CUES card, we have a card that you actually hand to families through the context of a conversation, which can be done virtually as Virginia instructed. And we have a whole other document that gives you guidance that you can refer to about how to really use that CUES card through that universal education so you don't feel like you are targeting any one family or any one person that you're just offering as an... Guys, I love this 'cause we can integrate this in the way that we do in Head Start in the existing systems that we already have, like into an intake packet. Many of you are back in business whether that's a virtual or in- person or habit of both. These cards can be snuck into a welcome packet as... And I love, Virginia, that whole CUES notion of you give everybody two. So one for the person that you're giving that too and in that vein of healing and helping others, maybe another, so that they can hand it off if they know of another person who needs it. It has safety information on it. It has things about healthy relationships. It has those national hotlines, and it's small enough to fit in a shoe, if it needs to be hidden or in, you know, an undergarment. And so that it can be tucked away if necessary.
So many of you in the chat were asking about, "Well, how do we do what we do to make sure that we, you know, get to families in a way that's through into relationship and doesn't make them feel like we're targeting?" So, and that strategy has been wildly successful. And as Virginia said, it's been tested out in other places, and it's extremely effective like - like the health field, which were very connected too as well, of course. So, let's look at one of them... Other messages that we want to make sure, and we kind of kicked it off with this earlier. Staying connected is one of the most helpful things that you can do. I want to say period, exclamation point, fist pound moment, and that's exactly why we started off with that question about how you're staying connected in times of social distancing. And many of you had these incredible ideas like actual Zoom workouts, they were like, even virtual hikes that you do together on
FaceTime, just these incredible ways that we stay with each other 'cause it's necessary. Making sure that somebody, everybody has a somebody is critical. And you guys know who we are so many times in Head Start we're that somebody or a lot of somebody which is even better. So, making sure that you find those ways to stay connected is critical. Side note, and we're not just talking about the folks that you serve, we're talking about you too. So, come with me, look at this. Have you come to visit us yet in MyPeers? Come on over. The water is fine. We love to interact with you. We actually have a whole public MyPeers Community, and you'll see it on the screen here. It's called PFCE: Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Deepening Practice. There are several others here that are connected to an overlap with the topics that we've had at hand today, but that it's really built for you by you, programs are coming over all the time and say and show me what your memorandum of understanding looks like with your local DV provider or show me your family partnership agreement. Like you guys are trading forums and ideas and resources. And every once in a while, at the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement we'll swoop in and say, "Hey, we have a resource that you might be interested in peeping at based on your question so come and join us with that." The other thing in the way of staying connected that we want to offer is this notion of our Text4FamilyServices. If you haven't joined our effort, you get a couple of texts a month, they come in English or Spanish. You can just text the letters PFCE to the numbers 22660. Guys, I love these. I signed up for these too. And it feels like every time I need an encouraging nudge, they come right on time. Every time it's like a message or have you checked out this resource, it's another way of staying connected. And I just really appreciate receiving these because it makes me feel like in the big wide world of Head Start as Tien started us off. We serve over a million kids a year.
We're such a big and important community, and it makes me feel like I'm connected to each of you. All right, so one other important thing, you know, how we do, we've got to get this business together with your 'cause you will have the opportunity for a certificate. One of the things that's going to happen after we wrap-up today, but don't go anywhere 'cause we still have after chat is coming next. We need to fill out an evaluation. So, after we finish our time together, you're going to get a link in your email with the - the email address that you registered with and in that you'll also have with that evaluation link, once you complete it, you're going to get a certificate. It'll be about an hour before that comes to your email box. So, don't worry if it's not there straightaway after we sign off today, it will come for you. You'll get that evaluation link, and then that will culminate after you complete that in the certificate. We want to make sure that you have what you need to document your professional development efforts.
With all that, guys, it's like one of my favorite parts of our whole time together. It's the "After Chat." So, we've been collecting your questions this whole time. And one of the first ones that I want to go to while I know, Mie, Tien, and Virginia, I've lined up a couple of ones that we're going to start off with, I think we're going to go to Virginia first. And one of the questions that came through in chat was, "Can we please see who the presenters are again today?" So, what I'm doing is I'm scrolling back to one of those very first slides that introduced each of us at the beginning, and so you can see each of our names and our affiliations, if you will, at least that organization. I'm proud to report that at the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, we've been huge fans of Futures Without Violence for the longest time and me personally so to know that we've been facilitating this collaboration for ... Guys, what it's been like these years for. It feels like so much longer in the best possible way. And these are the speakers that you see and who have had the honor to spend time with you today. So, hopefully getting to see that, again, is helpful. So, let me pause here 'cause I think we're going to go to Virginia for our first bit of Q&A. And let me check in... Virginia, are you ready?
Virginia: I am ready.
Brandi: Okay, so ... Well, I'm actually scrolling that to find the question that I believe that Mie brought forward for us about connections to community. So, let me get up here for you. So, this is a question that came through Q&A: "How would you go about making these referrals without feeling like a middleman in the relationship detail, especially when you are friends with both parties?" Now, Virginia, we see this a lot in Head Start, you can imagine. I mean, we build deep and wide relationships with the family 'cause we are very holistic in our approach. So, what do you think? What comes to mind when you hear this - this really good question?
Virginia: Yeah, so, you know, we've only had an hour and a half together. So, there's lots of information we didn't get to cover, and one of those concepts that I want to lift up is everyone in the situation, in the family deserves support and resources, right? So, we also have information about how to offer resources for the person that may be using harm as well because we know if there is violence and abuse in a relationship, it's not just up to the person who's being hurt to get help and services, we need the person who's using violence and trying to control their partner to change their behaviors as well. So, I just want to also put that out there, that we do have information on the kinds of programs and strategies, excuse me, that you would want to consider for the partner that's using harm. And I think that, again, for someone who's experiencing violence and harm, oftentimes the dynamic is such that they feel like, you know, they're being blamed for what's happening. Maybe it's - it's not happening after all, you know, there... It's being minimized. And so if you can be that person to say, "You know, what I'm hearing from you. Just honestly, like, I'm - I'm worried about your safety and, you know, what can I do to help? What would be helpful right now?" And that really goes a long way. We've heard over and over again, you know, there are fears that will if I ask these questions or try to make these referrals, people will be offended or feel like I'm trying to be up in their business but research has told us actually that people are experiencing violence and even people that aren't, you know, feel grateful that someone is having these conversations, asking questions, and making referrals.
Brandi: Now, Virginia, I really don't think that that relationship and that connection, as we eluded could be undersold, I really believe that, and I'll just say it like this 'cause, you know, I love you guys. And I feel, you know, like I can be safe and vulnerable. That human connection is just what's so critical in these conversations. And I really believe that being able to stand in a place of no judgment, no stigma, as we started off the dialogue, wherever a family is whether they're the person receiving harm or giving harm is on a place in their journey that we can wrap around them. You know, I feel like that pregnant pause needs to be there on purpose. And we are uniquely positioned to do that. And I'm just ever grateful... You know, every time I get on one of these webinars, I think, "I'm not going to say it this time, I'm not going to say," but I am. I've never been so proud to be part, you know, this National Head Start Community, what you guys do every day is - is just so important that it's jarring, you know, in the best possible way. And we're just grateful for you. And we're grateful that you're continuing to stay connected and to lean in the relationship that all of the times that we need to. I want to go back to a question that we're going to take to Tien first, but of course, Virginia and Mie, please jump in as you're inspired to do so. There was a lot of talk after that first poll, about the differentiation between toxic relationships or unhealthy or domestically violent relationships. So, Tien, I'm going to come to you first to kind of pull apart and put back together, what those differences are and why it's important to, you know, delineate between the two or three really?
Tien: Yeah, that can be. I'm - I'm glad to take this to the chat, Brandi, 'cause that can be really super confusing. So, I'll lead us off and - and I'd love for my colleagues to jump in. But just before I do that, can I just add one more thing to what you're saying? I really appreciate you talking about how the Head Start community is a community of friends that centers your work in your practice on engagement and connection to the people that you serve. As a survivor and as a clinician myself, that brings me such great comfort and joy to hear that. And in response to the, you know, the caller's conundrum about feeling like a middleman. I just want to underscore what Virginia was saying too, you know, that it's really common for us to kind of think of the person who uses violence as a batterer, as an offender, as a perpetrator because that's what kind of lives in the ethos, but I guess I would say as a child, survivor of domestic violence exposure, you know, the person that was - was battering, and the person who's using violence in my home was my father, right? And so, you know, in addition to being a batter, he was my father, and that meant something to me. And so, I think that experience of feeling caught in the middle. If your ethos and your practice as a professional community is one in which you connect to people first and you engage with them, you see them as whole beings.
You know, if they're telling you about domestic violence, you know, it's okay to open up the conversation and talk about how you - you care about them both. I mean, you want to think about, again, do this in console, like Mie was saying pull together, you know, an expert from the DV community if you're going to move down that road to make sure that you're doing it in a way that safe and that you thought of everything, don't just go out and do it, certainly get some guidance and advice. But I just wanted to kind of reflect that back to folks, right? But in terms of the relationship, right, we like to think of a relationship on this continuum, right? You have relationships at the far end, which we call domestically violence.
And as Mie was saying, the distinguishing factor there is that there's a pattern of power and control. So, people in relationships are using threats and harm and intimidation through multiple strategies, whether that's verbal abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial control, sort of manipulation of the relationship with - with children and family members and friends and - and in the community, but they're using all of those tactics for the - the experience of - of keeping power and control and being the one that's in charge and has all of the say in the relationship. And we differentiate that from a relationship that might be, you know, toxic, where you know there might be two people who are actually using violence as a way to - to problem solve or to express their anger or their disappointment on one another,
they don't - they don't have other strategies to kind of communicate or relate, you know? And in those contexts, we kind of think about those as - as toxic relationships because, you know, there is violence, sometimes the violence is happening from both ends, but there's not that element of explicitly trying to use those strategies of violence for - for power and control, and then we think about the difference between a toxic relationship and an unhealthy relationship by sort of thinking again, we don't ... There's no playbook for this, right? We - we learn how to be in relationships through our experiences with others who are close to us. And being in a healthy relationship means we know how to communicate, we know how to use strategies that are not violent to solve problems, we know how to sort of give and take, we know how to give ourselves and not lose ourselves in our relationship, and sometimes, those skill sets are not things that we bring to or have in a relationship. And those are the moments where we say, "Okay, this relationship might not be its healthiest, right?" Because we're giving all of ourselves, you know, that we've lost ourselves in this relationship, but there's really no violence, there's not a lot of conflict, but - but we just may not have the skills to really have the relationship be in its strongest and healthiest place. Sometimes, I give the example of, you know... Sometimes, there's alcohol or drug use in - in a family or in a relationship and - and a couple might fight about the alcohol or the drug use. This is different than a ... And it can, you know, lead to maybe an episode of violence, but, you know, sometimes we can tell the difference because, you know, when you're really talking to the family about it, you come to understand that the fighting is really about the use of alcohol and drugs. It's not - it's not, you know, being done in a way where you're trying to again maintain, control, and power over another person.
Brandi: Thank you so much, Tien, for that extra context. And so many of you asked about that differentiation. I'm glad that we got to think about it together in a bigger and deeper way. I have to say we could hang out with you guys all day long. We, you know, we could have scheduled such a longer time, but here we are at the end of our promise two hours a little over, but I wanted to ... As we leave each other, it looks like we are back on the Text4FamilyServices slide. And don't forget, you're going to get an evaluation link about an hour after this webinar is over. And that link will actually take you to your certificate. So, that way you have everything you need for your professional development files but before we leave each other, I want to thank our leadership at the Office of Head Start for allowing us the space to continue to have this very important dialogue. Every time we get to interact with you guys and take your questions, we learned so much more about what we want to talk more about and what you would like to talk for about more importantly. So, we're so grateful for the gifts of your words and your questions and your curiosities and your confirmations about all the things that you're already doing. And I'd also love to thank our entire team at the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, specifically Nina Zumpalova and Maureen Gomes who have been here behind the scenes to help make sure your technological adventure has been seamless. And of course, our Director Kim Alleyne's here today, and she's been doing a lot of help in the Q&A area. Last but not least, my friends and colleagues from Futures Without Violence, I don't know how to thank you guys properly, the depth of my gratitude is immeasurable for you today and every day. Thank you for your voices, your wisdom, your guidance, and your hearts. And thanks to each of you for spending any part of the day that we got to spend with you today, it's a blessing, it's an honor, and it's always a true privilege. We'll see you next time guys. Stay safe out there and be calm. See you soon.
Mie: Thank you for having us. Bye, everyone. Tien: Bye.Close
Many communities continue to use physical distancing and stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. Because of this, families experiencing domestic violence may have a harder time finding support and resources. Head Start and Early Head Start programs are lifelines for many families and have an important role in preventing and responding to domestic violence.