A national focus
Across Australia this week, there has been a strong focus on domestic violence.
The Hitting Home series on ABC TV together with the associated Q&A special provided a wealth of material for reflection and discussion.
For me, the strong but understated implication of the programs was the desperate need for
- Social and emotional development of the perpetrators (and victims)
- Repair of the harm done to the victims (and perpetrators)
How much of the problematic behaviour in schools is the product of child abuse and domestic violence? Much more than is generally acknowledged.
In the Q&A program there was a report of the recent initiatives to move from reactive police after the event, to preventative policing before more harm is done.
Schools can play a powerful long-term role in preventing further domestic violence by embedding restorative practices to
- repair harm already done
- make expectations explicit - everyone needs to know and agree what is acceptable
- build community that supports both victims and potential perpetrators*
- enable the social and emotional development of all members of the school community.
(* I have always believed that being a bully is bad for the bully)
I wrote about Breaking the Cycle of Family Violence a few months ago. This week has only re-enforced the need to maintain every effort possible.