Episode 61 - Dr. Lenore Walker: The System is Broken: Challenges to Trauma-Informed Approaches with Parents and Children Affected by Domestic Violence

Monday, December 13, 2010, 8:22:30 AM

Image of Dr. Lenore Walker

In this episode, Dr. Lenore Walker discusses the current social, political, and legal dynamics that challenge a trauma-informed approach to the health and safety of children affected by domestic violence. Dr. Charles Ewing of the University at Buffalo Law School joins in the conversation.

Download MP3 (40.6 MB)

Audio Transcript PDF document.

Listener Reviews

4 Reviews
5 star:
4 star:
3 star:
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
Average Listener Review

Average Rating: 4.2 stars (4 listener reviews )

Share your thoughts with others

Create Your Own Review

Average Rating: 4stars  errata, Tuesday, December 02, 2014

By Anonymous :

The quote by Dr. Walker in the review below should have begun with: "one study of boys who witnessed or were exposed to...", but the 2000 character limit had been reached. Apologies. Thanks for this opportunity to clarify (Because, otherwise, the meaning inferred could be vastly different)

Flag This


Average Rating: 3stars  generational transmission (and in 1 direction only?), Tuesday, December 02, 2014

By Paralegal Student :

@ about 33:30, Ms. Walker said: “... fathers abusing their mothers were 700 times more likely to use violence in their own lives when they grew up...” That is startling (just TWICE as likely is "100% MORE”). Some questions may enlighten: I) ”Would 24 yr. old parents (with brains still developing), watching their boys (of 5 and 6) in intense tussles, conversely, be 700 times (70,000%) MORE likely than other parents (who don't see such fighting) to engage in PHYSICAL STRIFE or abuse with some community members, or engage in serious loggerheads between themselves?" Or II) ”Would the parents, instead, maturely exercise providence and AVOID serious spousal pugilistics? (e.g. perhaps for religious reasons) ”… I inquire further: 1) “What is the NATURE of ABUSE, as contrasted with the VIOLENCE Ms. Walker is talking about?” I.e.: 2) "How much?" ( 2a) "How often (periodicity)? 2b) "How forceful (intensity)?") and 3) “Why?” ( 3a) "To damage or harm?” 3b) "To lay claim to some coveted object?" Or 3c) “To effect change with an uncooperative person?") Next, the turn-the-tables question: 4) “Why DON'T young parents IMITATE THEIR OWN kids who are way out of hand”? So then (restoring the tables): 5) “What IS a specific, compelling (700x), reason children NECESSARILY would imitate an abusive parent?" If a child is intelligent and SEES that being threatening, or actually harming another person, leaves the person in a DIMINISHED state then 8) “Just why - EXACTLY - would any child be inclined to imitate this at some point, vs. REJECTING it?” 9)"Is Ms. Walker, or the study, assuming that people (young or old) just DEFAULT into violence -- simply because they saw a parent (OR a child) do this?" Some children's parents might like tomatoes. 10) "Does it necessarily follow that the children will?" I ask these questions knowing that e.g. Erin Pizzey has indeed asserted that violence transfer is “generationally-based", but NOT necessarily "gender-based". THOUGHTS?

Flag This


Average Rating: 5stars  episode 61 review, Friday, January 31, 2014

By Katie :

I really enjoyed listening to this podcast because both Dr. Walker and Dr. Ewing gave great insight into this issue. I really liked how Dr. Walker brought up the issue of an abuser killing the woman and children after they have left the relationship. Most people in society do not realize how dangerous it can be for a woman to leave an abuser, and therefore are quick to blame her for staying. I believe that this issue of intimate partner homicide should receive more public attention. I have interned in an agency for victims of domestic violence and saw several cases where the women were worried about pressing charges against their abuser because they could be charged with neglect of their children. That worry shows a flaw in the system and I was glad that it was touched on in this podcast. I also believe that the court system needs to be more educated about the impact of trauma on victims and survivors. I loved Dr. Walker’s comment on the necessity to train people to recognize danger instead of being fair.

Flag This


Average Rating: 5stars  renee snyder , Saturday, April 20, 2013

By Renee Snyder :

After listening to Dr. Walker’s Podcast regarding the broken system it made me think about New York’s family court system. I work for CPS and have a better understanding of what the broken system looks like. I also like that you gave some suggestions on how to fix the problem. I didn’t realize this was such a prevalent problem all across the country. Another thing that I found interesting in the podcast was in regards to the parental alienation syndrome, and how they are now changing this to a disorder. I agree that more training is needed in this area and lawyers shouldn’t be advising clients to do this. However in certain situations like child sexual abuse and domestic violence cases, I think that father’s rights should not count and the law guardians need to be more proactive when talking to the children to find out what they want. If the children say that they do not want to see one parent or the other due to the abuse, the children should be able to make this call. I feel everyone in family court needs more training and education on trauma and the effects on everyone in the family. Especially the children, I was shocked when you said that children that witness domestic violence in the house are 700 more times likely to use violence when they get older.

Flag This

DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.