Fatherhood programs can help to encourage the strengthening of father/child bonds through domestic violence awareness education. Engaging in activities that educate and raise awareness on domestic violence can help fathers emphasize with their daughters, wives, girlfriends, or the mothers of their children. It also offers opportunities to discuss demonstrating respect in relationships, how to role model for their children, and other fathers.
Looking for more information on how to start conversations about domestic violence with fathers or about how domestic violence affects families? This page is for you!
Tips & Best Practices
- Familiarize yourself with common violent and controlling behaviors. Men Stopping Violence offers this list which is intended to help men reflect and inventory their behaviors while thinking about their relationships.
- Understand that a father's upbringing may influence his own parenting style and behavior as an adult. Incorporating movies and video clips can help men reflect on their actions in their relationships. It also encourages men to think about how their parent’s relationship has impacted them as romantic partners and fathers.
- Continue to raise awareness about domestic violence. This webinar provides several examples of how programs can do so, which includes:
- Treating fathers with respect and hopeful expectation
- Emphasizing the dignity of being a man and a father, including the discipline and dedication required
- Allowing men to speak and share stories
- Being prepared to work over the long term and through broad community partnerships
- Demonstrating how men can talk about women without complaining or being demeaning, demystify female characteristics, talk about similarities and differences, educate men about the historical oppression of women and women’s current struggle for equality and human rights around the globe
- Using empathetic listening and motivational interviewing to guide and cultivate self-discovery.
Domestic violence is a serious challenge affecting families and communities. One in five women, and a growing number of men, experience domestic violence sometime in their lives , and an estimated 3.3 to 10 million children suffer the trauma of witnessing domestic violence each year . The April 2014 NRFC webinar (Addressing Domestic Violence: The Role of Fatherhood Programs, April 16, 2014) looked at strategies that fatherhood programs can take to address this issue and promote safe environments for children and families.
How can fatherhood programs help fathers talk to their children about domestic violence?
Parents often struggle with figuring out how much information is too much information to tell their children. This fact sheet encourages parents and service providers to keep communication open, have the parent guide conversation, and let the child ask the questions they feel they need to.
What agencies are good to partner with to help bring domestic violence awareness education to fatherhood programs?
- The National Network to End Domestic Violence provides a list of coalitions in each state. This resource can assist in connecting with local agencies and organizations.
- The Center for Family and Policy Practice has multiple publications discussing the ways that fatherhood programs and domestic violence advocates can work together.
- The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community provides a racially and culturally specific approach to engaging men in domestic violence advocacy.
How can we reach younger men to involve them in domestic violence advocacy?
Some advocates believe that school is a critical time and place to engage young men in discussions about domestic violence. Schools are often a place where social norms are created. The inclusion of domestic violence education can work to influence how young men view women and their relationships with them.