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The purpose of intervention of family violence can be described best with a quote from Sir Anthony Eden, "We best avoid wars by taking even physical action to stop small ones." With this type of mentality, intervention is the physical action that is the step to avoid the war of family violence. In this paper, the focus will be on why the intervention of family violence is most beneficial for a child as well as for the entire family. Also, the negative aspects will be discussed in order to put the importance of intervention into perspective by balancing out the pros and cons. The main purpose of family violence intervention is to stop abuse within the family and prevent families from passing down the characteristics of an abuser.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term intervention as, "the act or fact or a method of interfering with the outcome or course especially of a condition or process as to prevent harm or improve functioning." In order to understand the importance of intervention on family violence, the understanding of the definition of intervention itself is crucial. With that said, Szu-Yu Chen and Maria Scannapieco (2006) wrote an article titled, Early Childhood Maltreatment: Substantiation related to Family Risk and Intervention Factors explaining the process of intervention. According to the article there are three variables of intervention which consist of the quality of parent-child connection, caregiver knowledge, and caregiver skill. In the beginning stages of intervention, these variables are taken into consideration and rated based on risk of maltreatment. The study that was conducted rated families based on these categories and the connections that they found was that if the parent established a good relationship with the risk of the child maltreatment occurring again was much lower than if there was a negative relationship between the two. This is just one of the reasons why intervention is essential under the circumstances of family violence because the authors were able to find connections within their study that is useful for intervention today.
Another aspect of intervention that justifies its purpose in family violence is that it helps families learn to deal with the different stressors that are causing incredible distress in their lives. Especially when dealing with families with low income, from a different culture or ethnic background, single parents, and people who have experienced abuse first hand from their parents or in general. People who are dealing with the daily stresses of everyday life along with these listed contributing factors may need professional help balancing it all out.
An article called, Building Resiliency in Families with Young Children Exposed to Violence: The Safe Start Initiative Pilot Study discusses how stressors can play a part in family violence and how intervention can help build resiliency within the family, especially with the children. Within the article it stated that during the study on family violence and the impact that stressors has on the family they found two key results. The first result that they found was that the family intervention did reduce the stress within the family and the higher number of stressors and protective factors within the family required more attention from the study (Ortega and Beauchemin 2008, 48). What this shows is that if the study was effective in reducing stress within the families that the act of intervention was helpful in some way.
As with everything in life, intervention has its criticisms as well. The first issue with intervention is that the process is extremely expensive. With the expenses of intervention, it is difficult to employ case workers and those who specialize in family abuse intervention. The reason why it is so difficult to find people to fill these jobs is because it is such hard work and there is not enough money to justify the circumstances that these individuals are put in. With that said, it is clear that those people who are working with intervention and family abuse are most likely over loaded with cases.
Although, Robert A. Caldwell of Michigan State University, wrote an article called, The Costs of Child Abuse vs. Child Abuse Prevention. This article weighed out the gains and costs of intervention of child abuse within families. Caldwell (1994) stated that, "The costs of child abuse were estimated at 823 million dollars annually. These costs include those associated with low birth weight babies, infant mortality, special education, protective service, foster care, juvenile and adult criminality, and psychological services. The costs of prevention programming were estimated to be 43 million dollars annually. This yields a 19 to 1 cost advantage to prevention". The cost of intervention is a concern and critic but before intervention is disregarded, both sides must be considered. After reading and interpreting this excerpt from Caldwell's article, it is safe to say that prevention is costly and expensive, but not as expensive as the cost of child abuse.
This is where the case of Logan Marr comes into play. Logan Marr and her sister were taken away from their biological mother because the social worker felt that they were being raised by an unfit mother. Sally, who was once a member of the Department of Human Services, took them in. Logan disliked Sally incredibly and wanted to return home to her mother. One day, Sally became tired of hearing her scream and placed Logan into the basement with tape around her mouth and limbs which then lead to her death. If the DHS workers would have listened to Logan when she expressed her discomfort with the foster families then maybe this could have been prevented. Many people have become frustrated with this idea that there is not enough being done for children and family abuse and what is done for these families is not always what is best. Why are There no Effective Child Abuse Prevention Parenting Interventions? Written by Karol L. Kumpfer talks about what needs to be done in regards to preventing child maltreatment within families. It is aggravating to hear about cases like Logan Marr and in Kumpfers article it explains that parents and children need to go through behavioral training that develop their skills to live in a healthy and positive environment.
In the article, Child Welfare Professional Experiences of Child Exposure to Domestic Violence explained the importance of the practice of intervention. "The results pointed to a need for creating more opportunities for children to talk about their lives with professionals, for improved screening techniques, and for a preference for interventions focusing on rehabilitation for the batterer, which maintained family preservation" ( Van den Bosse & McGinn 49). Although the case of Logan Marr was a horrible one, intervention of family violence is necessary even on the account that a rare case slips through the cracks of the system. Child welfare professionals are working to eliminate the flaws by establishing programs where children can talk about how they feel to someone that will listen.
Now having looked at both sides of the issue of intervention and family violence it is easy to conclude that the pros weight out the cons. Intervening within families is a difficult and risky act because it deals with so many factors that revolve around different stressors that trigger differently with people. This is why there are flaws within the system because if there are not enough people to tend to these families adequately then a problem arises such as the Logan Marr case. Another flaw with intervention is that it is expensive to do and difficult to pay employees. These are valid problems with intervention, but as stated the expenses of intervention are far less than dealing with abuse. There is a "19 to 1" cost advantage. Also, it is proven that intervention does alleviate stressors within a family and works to develop resiliency within children that have been abused or witnessed abuse. Although intervention will not end abuse in families, it will work to stop the small battles so that we will not find ourselves in a larger war of violence and abuse.