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Understanding and Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

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The opinions, statements, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this session are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the conference hosts.

Jurisdictions across the country are looking for new ways to address the impact of domestic violence on children, including incorporating parenting after violence into existing abusive partner intervention programming and how to support children involved in the child welfare system as a result of domestic violence. This presentation will invite attendees to reflect on the strengths and needs of their communities in addressing the impact of domestic violence on children and offer strategies to create programming for the abusive parent and how child welfare practitioners can best meet these needs through an interdisciplinary approach of trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate court information and guidance, including through the use of interactive child witness support materials.

Presented by Sheila Schwanekamp and Shashika Peeligama
Community Response to Child Abuse Conference 2022

Sheila W. Schwanekamp, Court Attorney Referee, New York State Unified Court System, 8th Judicial District. Sheila has worked for forty years in the New York State Unified Court System and serves as the Coordinator for the Domestic Violence Courts, the eight Integrated Domestic Violence Courts within the District and coordinates domestic violence issues within the court system. Ms. Schwanekamp has coordinated the development and implementation of these problem-solving courts in conjunction with the OCA Office of Policy and Planning. She is a member of the Office on Violence Against Women’s nationally recognized Erie County Integrated DV Mentor Court. Schwanekamp is also a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, has attended and has served as a Seminar Leader for their National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence (NJIDV) and is a member of the Judicial Engagement Network. She is also a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Shashika Peeligama, Senior Program Manager for Gender and Family Justice, Center for Court Innovation Shashika is a Licensed Master Social Worker with the State of New York and holds a Master of International Social Development. She has worked with children and families for over 10 years in a variety of roles from frontline case management through to high level project management roles, in both non-profit and government settings. She has also worked in a number of countries around the world including India, South Africa, the UK, and her home country of Australia. As Senior Program Manager for Gender and Family Justice at the Center for Court Innovation, Shashika assists jurisdictions across the country to create collaborative, multi-disciplinary responses to gender based violence.