Heart and Shield Family Violence Prevention Program
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Children exposed to domestic violence (DV) inadvertently learn behaviors that make them more likely to become victims and/or perpetrators later in life unless they learn skills to address childhood trauma. This article discusses how two rural community needs assessments identified that DV prevention was a high-priority issue, the effects of DV on youth mental and physical health, and the resulting Heart and Shield Family Violence Prevention Program, a Cooperative Extension program designed to strengthen family relationships and break the cycle of violence. Implications for practice include helping youth build healthy relationships, incorporating DV awareness training in staff/volunteer professional development, collaborating with community partners, and advocating for programs that teach positive parent-child interactions.
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