Shelter-based Group Intervention with Parents and Children Exposed to Domestic Violence

Type of Approach:

  • Group

Provider Education Level:

  • Unspecified


  • Less than 12 weeks

Trauma Type:

  • Domestic Violence

Trauma Symptom:

  • Depression
  • Externalizing Behaviors
  • Internalizing Behaviors


  • Other
  • Other Community Settings


Type of services:

Group treatment intervention for children exposed to domestic violence and parenting group

Type of provider:

Male and female group facilitators; the type of service provider was specified in the evaluation study publication which is the basis of this program profile.

Program setting:


Length of program/number sessions:

10 weeks; sessions were 90 minutes in length.

Type(s) of trauma addressed:

Exposure to domestic violence

Additional Information:

The group programs were developed by staff at the YWCA Family Violence Prevention Center and the Sherriff King Home in Calgary.
The children’s program included the following components:

  • A focus on addressing posttraumatic stress issues by creating a safe, therapeutic environment where children can express their thoughts, feelings and experiences
  • Psychoeducation on identification and expression of feelings, safety planning, problem solving, understanding emotional, sexual and physical abuse
  • Relaxation exercises
    The parenting program had two main goals:
  • Relationship building between parent and child
  • Promote positive discipline practices
Unique/Innovative Characteristics

This summary describes a pilot evaluation of a shelter-based intervention for children exposed to domestic violence.
Limited information was available from the publication about this intervention.

Date Added/Updated:



  • 6-12 (Childhood)


  • English

Ethnic Racial Group:

  • Unspecified
  • White

Caregivers Included:

  • Mother

Population Adaptations:

Age range of children:

6 to 12 years old; groups were organized by age with 6-8 children in each group

Parent/adult caregiver included in intervention:

At least one parent of each child in the group intervention is required to attend a corresponding parenting group.

Ethnic/racial and other groups served:

Not reported in the study

Specific cultural adaptations:

None indicated in study

Languages available:



Evaluation Studies:

A pre- and post- intervention comparison study (no control group) was conducted with a small sample (47 children in the study sample and18 children in the final analyses). Fifteen percent of the children were mandated referrals from Child and Family Services. The remainder of children were self-referred and heard about the program through community advertising.

At the end of the intervention, MacMillan (2003) reported the following findings:

  • Children had significantly fewer behavior problems (externalizing, internalizing, and total score) reported by their parents, however there was a lack of correspondence between parents’ ratings of their children’s internalizing behaviors and children’s ratings of their own internalizing symptoms
  • Children’s knowledge was significantly increased
  • Scores in the clinical range dropped for some measures, particularly for externalizing behavior problems
  • Parents’ ratings of their own stress in the child domain was significantly lower

  • MacMillan KM, Harpur LL. An examination of children exposed to marital violence accessing a treatment intervention. Journal of Emotional Abuse. 2003;3(3/4): 227-252.

    Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:

    This intervention was not rated by the registries/databases we reviewed.

Training Contact:

Training Notes:

Training & Resources

No information is provided in the publication about training or training resources.

Program Contact