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Health Care Professionals Must Rethink 
 Approach to Domestic Violence, 
 Adler Expert Says 05.29.18
Health Care Professionals Must Rethink
Approach to Domestic Violence,
Adler Expert Says

Responses to domestic violence vary in philosophy, focus and funding, according to an Adler University program director whose report on the matter is featured in the latest edition of the North Carolina Medical Journal.

Leslie Starsoneck joined Duke University's George Ake to author the piece, “Reconsidering Our Domestic Violence System”. Starsoneck leads the M.A. in Nonprofit Management program offered through Adler University’s Online Campus.

“Children's exposure to domestic violence is well established as an adverse childhood experience (ACE),” the report states. “Much is known about the impact of this exposure, but efforts to ameliorate its effects are too often unsuccessful. Reconsidering our response requires a candid assessment of whether convening large and disparate systems leads to the best outcome.”

The North Carolina Medical Journal is a publication centered on health policy analysis and debate. It's co-published six times each year by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and The Duke Endowment. Starsoneck and Ake's article stems from the fact that domestic violence is the primary form of trauma experienced by children in North Carolina’s welfare system. But there is significant disagreement about how to define, reduce and prevent it, they say.

While some believe that abusive parents have “lost the right” to their children, others argue that with the correct help, parental relationships can be a vital part of healing for children who have experienced or witnessed domestic violence. Clinical approaches also differ widely, the authors explain — some oppose “pathologizing” children while others believe in more comprehensive interventions.

The confusion leads to a lack of ownership of both the issue, it and its treatments.

“By not having systems in place that recognize the framework of trauma, we’re making a decision not to coordinate our efforts or collect data to understand the impact of domestic violence,” said Starsoneck. “We’re still disagreeing over some major philosophical issues and approaches and that continues to hold us back. … If we’re not working this out, it leaves many kids disconnected from the really great work that is trauma informed.”

For more information, read the full article, “Reconsidering Our Domestic Violence System."

About Adler University

Adler University educates students to engage the world and create a more just society. Established in 1952, it enrolls more than 1,400 students in master’s and doctoral programs for social change through its campuses in downtown Chicago and Vancouver, as well as an Online Campus. Adler University’s mission is to continue the pioneering work of Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities and advancing social justice.