By Rocco Parascandola
October 24, 2018
Domestic abusers will get counseling in a new program that the Administration for Children’s Services is touting as the first of its kind in the country.
Victims of domestic violence – typically women and their children – have traditionally been the focus of such services. But beginning in the spring, those who inflict the abuse will also get the chance to sit down and talk it out with counselors.
In some cases, both the abusers and the kids will be in the same room together with the counselor — but only if there is not a court order prohibiting such contact and ACS workers believes there is no chance of violence.
Such interactions, ACS said, could help reduce future violence and is necessary because parents accused of abuse often have visitation rights – and even those who no longer have contact with their victims could repeat the cycle of violence in their next relationships.
“When a family experiences domestic violence, this not only has devastating impacts on the immediate well-being and functioning of the children and survivor, the effects can be found in the generations that follow,” ACS Commissioner David Hansell said. “This new innovative approach can help create positive outcomes for children and interrupt the cyclical patterns of abuse and trauma.”
The NYPD recently said domestic violence cases are up 4% this year, with 216,000 domestic violence investigations.
The new program, “A Safe Way Forward,” was put together after ACS consulted with experts and survivors of domestic abuse.
It will start small, with ACS working with the Children’s Aid Society in the Bronx and Safe Horizon on Staten Island.
ACS said about 130 families will be part of the program next year.