Role of school counselling services when dealing with students who are victims of domestic violence
In their work, the school counselling service also encounters students who come from a violent domestic environment. As they are committed to zero tolerance to violence, they must respond to any type of perceived domestic violence, and address it appropriately. The Master’s Thesis tries to highlight the role of school counselling services when dealing with students for whom it is suspected that they are victims of domestic violence.
The theoretical part is based on the definition of domestic violence and its different forms, and the presentation of possible consequences of domestic violence in children, which are also reflected in the school environment. The presentation of the school’s role as a protective factor for children who are subject to domestic violence and the outline of the formal framework for addressing domestic violence for educational establishments serve as an introduction to the core of the theoretical part, which outlines the position of the school counselling service in elementary school with emphasis on the presentation of the process of dealing with students who are victims of domestic violence, from the moment (suspected) domestic violence is discovered onwards: presentation of steps from the detection to the reporting of domestic violence, direct work with the child who is the victim of domestic violence and with their parents, collaboration with other participants in the educational process (teachers, school management and the class), and external institutions, especially with social workers at the Centre for Social Work. The theoretical part is concluded with a presentation of the importance of additional education and training in the area of family violence for the school counselling service.
The empirical part presents the results of the qualitative empirical research, for which data were obtained through semi-structured interviews with three school counsellors employed in elementary schools in the same region, as well as with a social worker at the competent Centre for Social Work. We established that school counsellors have a demanding role in dealing with students who are victims of domestic violence. Without a doubt, it is indispensable to work directly with the child, however, to address domestic violence effectively, this also requires a lot of mutual collaboration and consultation with other participants in the educational process as well as with external experts (especially with social workers at the Centre for Social Work), which is based on their mutual trust, good interpersonal relationships and good communication. In doing so, it is important that all individuals are willing to collaborate and regard the well-being of the victim as a priority.
Despite some restrictions, the research explicitly outlines the possible practices for dealing with students who are victims of domestic violence, and can thus serve as a lever for further contemplation and research, and as a tool for school counsellors to evaluate their own practices and potentially undergo further education and training in this area.