I am happy Mommy isn’t sad anymore and we are safe.

Child in Shelter Program

Children’s Shelter Program

Not all children who witness intimate partner violence and abuse grow up to be abused or become abusive, especially if they receive counselling or have a positive role model to follow. Transition House provides intervention programs that help stop the inter-generational cycle of abuse. Children are told, “it’s not your fault, you are loveable and you are capable.” They are also taught to create a safety plan. In addition:

  • Children are given access to individual crisis counselling with the on-site children’s counsellor
  • Parent education and support is available as are referrals to community resources
  • Children’s activity workers create recreational opportunities for children
  • Child-minding is available while mothers attend appointments
  • Cultural and recreational activities help to create an oasis of fun during a stressful time

Children Who Witness Abuse Program – CWWA

Now the Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling & Empowerment (PEACE) program

The Children Who Witness Abuse Program provides individual and group counselling for children who have witnessed intimate partner violence and abuse. This helps children recognize abusive behaviour, look at alternatives to violence and break the cycle of abuse. It gives them the tools to deal with their feelings and experiences. We also offer support for mothers. We provide public education about the effects of witnessing abuse and facilitate dating violence prevention presentations in public schools and other community-based groups.

The program aims to:

  • Provide a non-threatening environment to explore and understand feelings
  • Teach healthy ways to express emotions such as anger, hurt and fear
  • Let children know they are not alone and they are not to blame
  • Teach safety and problem-solving skills
  • Define abuse and raise awareness about personal rights

Almost 40% of all women assaulted by spouses said their children witnessed the violence (directly or indirectly), and in many cases the violence was severe. (Statistics Canada)

Violence is Preventable Project

This project links schools with the Children Who Witness Abuse (CWWA) program to help break the cycle of violence against women and children. The program is run in collaboration with area high schools and provides interactive workshops and education to youth about dating violence, healthy relationships, boundaries and more.

Children’s Spring Break & Summer Camp Program

Spring Break Camp is held for one week each year. Summer Camp offers two, two-week sessions. Both camps are for children and youth who have witnessed intimate partner violence and abuse at home come together for an intense experience of learning and fun. This annual summer camp run by the Children Who Witness Abuse (CWWA) program is an integral part of the programming we offer for children who witness abuse here in Victoria.

At camp, children, pre-teens and teens learn about the cycle of abuse and the choices they can make to prevent abusing/being abused in relationships. Camp helps them to recognize they are not alone in their experiences. All of this is coupled with exciting and challenging activities.

One member of the group was the shyest girl I have met in a long time. She decided her goal for the summer camp would be to raise her self-confidence. Every morning, we asked the children in the group to speak more softly so that it was possible to hear her small voice during the group check-in. But as the days passed, although her voice remained quiet, she began to articulate what was going on inside her – anger, sadness, and frustration – and showed her increased confidence in sharing her feelings.

Each afternoon, we took the children out for a fun activity. One of the more challenging activities was rock climbing. She sat in silence during the long drive to the site. When her turn came, she geared up, took one long look at the rock, which went straight up, and began the climb. Her first ascent was calculated and slow, but what followed was astonishing. This meek young woman came alive with confidence, climbing each subsequent wall with mastery. She became so self-assured that by the end of the afternoon, she had surpassed all the other group members in climbing up the various rock walls.

Staff member, Children Who Witness Abuse summer day camp

Shine: Girls’ Counselling Group

Shine is a 10-week group counselling program that responds specifically to the needs of pre-teenage girls who have witnessed abuse. Facilitated by specialized counsellors, it covers key themes such as confidence, trust, friendships, emotions, goals, relationships, stress and coping, abuse, assertiveness and boundaries, self-love and expression. In this 90-minute weekly group session, girls have a chance to express themselves through sharing and creative activities such as journal writing, drama, visual arts, and other creative activities. Different professionals are also invited as guest speakers.

Boys’ Counselling Group

This specialized, eight-week counselling support group responds specifically to the needs of male and male-identifying children ages 12 to 14 who have witnessed violence and abuse at home. The program aims to provide young males and male-identified children with emotional literacy and safety education, greater self-awareness and accountability, and an understanding of healthy relationships.