Dichtbij, maar toch veraf. Steun en hulp vanuit het sociale netwerk voor kinderen die getuige zijn geweest van huiselijk geweld.
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Objective This study describes the opportunities and barriers to involve the social network in the process of helping and supporting children who witnessed domestic violence. Methods The intention of the study was to speak with youths who witnessed domestic violence instead of about them. Therefore a retrospective research model is chosen, whereby youths where asked about domestic violence in their childhood. In an anonymous online questionnaire 39 youths gave their opinion about involving the social network for help and support, based on their own experiences. Besides the online questionnaire, 15 expert interviews were conducted among professionals in ambulant and residential counselling of children that experienced domestic violence. Results Over 90 percent of the youths reacted positively about combining the social and professional network. Besides emotion support a trusted person within the social network can provide the distraction a child needs in this circumstances. Moreover, the social network can carefully monitor the situation on the long run. Professionals are complementary with their objective view and professional knowledge. Barriers for involving the social network can be found in the people within the social network itself, their values and standards and the negative consequences they may experience when they actually are involved. Further, barriers can be found in the availability of professionals and the methods they use. Conclusions Children who witnessed domestic violence need support from both a professional and social network. Without professional help children are rarely able to involve their social network to help and support them, in addition to the help and support they receive from professionals. Besides the opportunities of involving the social network there are some barriers which make involvement more difficult or even unattractive. The opportunities and barriers of involving the social network depends on the situation itself, on the child who witnessed domestic violence and the people who are directly involved. To provide accurate help and support it is important to talk with the children and not about them.