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THE CHILDREN NEXT DOOR Documentary Selected for Special Jury Prize

By: Nov. 16, 2012
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THE CHILDREN NEXT DOOR, a documentary short about domestic violence as seen through the eyes of a child, held its New York City premiere on November 12th at DOC NYC, the world renowned documentary film festival, and was selected for the Special Jury Prize. Three juries selected films from each of the festival’s Viewfinders, Metropolis and Shorts programs to recognize for their outstanding achievements in form and content. All films playing in the shorts section, plus the two shorts screening in the Metropolis section, were eligible for this jury prize.

This documentary is the first of its kind, as it recounts the fear and pain of domestic violence from the child’s perspective. The film was sponsored by Children of Domestic Violence, a nonprofit organization focused on building awareness and helping those who experience domestic violence as children reach their full potential and break the cycle of violence. Producer Lynda Hansen and Director Doug Block worked closely with Children of Domestic Violence throughout the production process. Premiering on the heels of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Children Next Door serves to focus the dialogue on the children that are so often present when violence occurs in the home.

The Children Next Door takes us on a young family’s journey to discover the solution to end a reoccurring cycle of violence and the truth that lies beneath. Raised in Tennessee households fraught with domestic violence, Penny and Brad vowed when they fell in love to end the cycle. A ten-year marriage plagued by waves of mounting violence, all in front of their four children, culminated on one horrific day. The film opens five and a half years later, as the family continues to struggle with the impact of the violence that shaped their lives. Within three short months, an astonishing turn of events forces Chelsea, the oldest child, and her mother to confront some tough truths about the past. In facing them, Chelsea begins to find an inner strength and see her true potential. View the trailer here.

Childhood domestic violence is domestic violence that takes place when children are present. UNICEF calls it, “one of the most damaging unaddressed human rights violations in the world today.” 40 million U.S. adults experienced childhood domestic violence and the five million children who experience it each year are three times more likely to repeat what they learned as adults. More than half of all children who experience domestic violence are being raised by a parent who was a child of domestic violence.

“One of our greatest challenges in the fight against childhood domestic violence is a lack of public awareness,” said Brian F. Martin, Founder and CEO of Children of Domestic Violence. “Childhood domestic violence is possible because it is a secret. As soon as it is revealed, collectively we can intervene to stop it. The Children Next Door addresses it head on and has the power to open a dialogue about a silent problem affecting millions of people around the world. It is imperative that when thinking about domestic violence, we think equally of the children that are present in these homes.”

About Children of Domestic Violence:

Children of Domestic Violence works to end the cycle of childhood domestic violence. It is the only organization that focuses specifically on the effects that CDV can have on individuals and society as a whole. By focusing on the childhood experience, CDV is able to bring positive change to those impacted and help them realize their true potential. Learn more at


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