Did you know that a child witnessing abuse is also a form of abuse?
~Children Who Witness Abuse Counsellor, Victoria Women’s Transition House Society
This is the unfortunate reality for over 10,000 children in the Capital Regional District and 800,000 children in Canada (Statistics Canada 2007).
Many of us will never need the courage and strength it takes a mother to leave, in fear for her life and the safety of her children, should she be caught escaping.
Often children witness repeated abuse and violence in their home before they are given a voice to express their stories. Children feel alone in their experience, confused, ashamed, and self-conscious, which impacts schoolwork and their ability to connect in social settings.
Transition houses do provide hope and a chance to break the cycle of abuse, but did you know there was a time in Canada, even in this last century, when transition houses and awareness of the issue of abuse was not a part of our society’s understanding?
As a result there are many women who endured abuse for decades and children who witnessed violence who grew up without any understanding of abuse or support.
The Older Women’s Outreach/Safe Home Program at Victoria Women’s Transition House Society provides counselling and support for women over the age of 50 who have experienced, or are currently experiencing abuse in their home. The Safe Home component of this program provides a safe, secure and confidential accommodation in the community supporting women to connect with community resources such as lawyers, financial assistance, medical and affordable housing.
As a way to address and break the patterns of abuse that have become generational in nature, the Older Women’s Outreach/Safe Program provides education and support to women who want to make a change. To prevent children from experiencing this in their future, our Children Who Witness Abuse Program provides services for children up to the age of eighteen.
Our philosophy is that education and healthy modelling at any age will help break the cycle of abuse.
STAFF WILL NEVER FORGET COREY, A FOUR-YEAR OLD BOY WHO STAYED AT THE SHELTER A FEW YEARS AGO. HE SHOWED COMMON SIGNS OF HURT AND CONFUSION OVER THE ABUSE HE WITNESSED AND ENDURED HIMSELF. LIKE MANY CHILDREN, HE FELT RESPONSIBILITY BEYOND HIS AGE. IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON TO HEAR COREY SAY HE NEEDED TO GET A JOB. IT WAS NOT UNCOMMON TO FIND HIM SNEAKING AROUND THE SHELTER, ALONE, WITH A GUN MADE OF LEGO AS A “POLICE OFFICER” PROTECTING THE HOUSE. CHILDREN LIKE COREY FORGET WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE A CHILD, AND OFTEN FEEL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSE IN THEIR FAMILIES.
Victoria Women’s Transition House, was one of the first to offer the Children Who Witness Abuse Program, over 23 years ago.
This program was used as a model across British Columbia, Canada and beyond. It now includes Children In-Shelter counselling, individual and group counselling based at our Community Office, and the Children Who Witness Abuse Summer Camp. The children have the opportunity to share their stories of witnessing abuse in their homes and they learn how to be safe. Most importantly, they learn how to build different type of relationships in their own lives. Many come away from camp, groups, and counselling with the ability to identify the complexity of their feelings around families and the dynamics of the abuse they have witnessed.
Like the Children Who Witness Abuse Program and the Older Women’s Outreach/Safe Home Program, all our programs are in high demand.
Can we count on your support with a donation of $50, $100, or $250? You may contribute by sending in the attached coupon. Our mailing address is 100-3060 Cedar Hill Rd, Victoria, BC V8T 3J5.
Your donation will help all of our teams do what we do best.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our co-worker Elissa Bergman, Development Manager, at 250.592.2927 ext 210 or email@example.com.
Janet H., Jayde F., Rachel W., Elzbie J., Will B. and Georgia O.
Staff, Children Who Witness Abuse and Older Women’s Outreach Program
Victoria Women’s Transition House Society