NAU creates first program in state to provide services to children who have lost a parent to intimate partner homicide

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the Family Violence Institute at Northern Arizona University has a new resource to provide services to children who have lost a parent to intimate partner homicide.

The mission of the Arizona Child and Adolescent Survivor Initiative (ACASI), which is funded by the US. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, is to deliver trauma-informed care that addresses the complex emotional healing, economic restabilization and justice needs of children whose parents have been killed by intimate partners, as well as the children’s caregivers. These services are available to survivors throughout the state of Arizona.

“More than 3,000 children lose a parent to intimate partner homicide each year in the United States, and about half of those children were home at the time and either witnessed the homicide or discovered their parent’s body,” said Holly Hulen, associate director of the Family Violence Institute. “We’re here to help, when you’re ready, when you need us.”

Direct services include:

  • Personal advocacy and emotional support
  • Mental health counseling/care
  • Peer support for child survivors and adult caregivers
  • Referrals to legal assistance related to family law (guardianship, custody, adoption, grandparents’ rights) and dependency/juvenile court actions
  • Ongoing and intensive case management services
  • Mentoring of child survivors

ACASI also offers information, help and advocacy to assist victims in exercising their rights and applying for victim compensation. It is the only statewide initiative in the United States that provides free direct services to survivors and caregivers.