Domestic Violence Counselor Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Domestic violence affects people from every ethnic group, social class, gender, and race. To prevent domestic violence, it's not only necessary to prosecute the perpetrators, but also vital to understand its root causes.

Many domestic violence counselors do not recommend couples counseling when domestic violence is an issue since counselors not trained to assist abuse victims may recommend therapies intended for couples struggling with common problems. Instead, they recommend that victims seek assistance from counselors properly trained to help them.

Domestic violence is often a complex issue, so domestic abuse counselors receive special training to address this confusing and complex problem. Since it's baffling why an individual would physically abuse a loved one, each state offers certification programs for counselors interested in assisting domestic abuse victims. In these programs, counselors will be taught how to counsel victims and refer them to available resources.

Domestic violence counselors address these issues:
  • What constitutes domestic violence
  • Who are the victims
  • Recognizing the signs of domestic violence
  • Why victims do not leave abuse partners
  • How to assist victims of domestic violence
  • Legal issues such as: PFA's and PRO's
  • How police agencies and courts assist victims
  • Handling divorce and custody issues
  • Protecting abused children
  • Developing a support system for victims
  • Teaching victims how to move on from abusive relationships
  • The fall-out for families
  • The recovery process for victims of domestic abuse
  • Stopping the abuse cycle
  • Eliminating abuse for good
Domestic abuse counselors are trained to understand the thought processes and motivations of perpetrators. Many abusers suffered abuse as children and abuse loved ones to control them. They frequently abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer from extreme narcissism, and feel entitled. They also are typically good at making sure friends and other family members remain unaware about their violent behavior.

Abuse victims often remain with their partners because they genuinely believe their abusers still care about them. Many abuse victims suffered abuse in previous relationships, so they do not understand what constitutes a healthy relationship. In some cases, abuse victims blame themselves for being abused. This is why it's essential for them to meet with counselors specifically trained to address their special issues and needs.

If you want to assist people suffering from domestic abuse, consider obtaining a certificate in domestic violence. There is generally no specific type of psychology or counseling graduate degree required to be accepted into a domestic violence certificate program. Many counselors with criminal justice backgrounds complete these programs.

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