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. Counsellors share important messages, such as “It’s not your fault, you are loveable and you are capable.” With guidance and support, children also learn to create a safety plan. In addition:

  • Children are given access to individual crisis counselling with children’s counsellors
  • 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

Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling & Empowerment (PEACE)/Children Who Witness Abuse Program

The PEACE/Children Who Witness Abuse Program helps to stop the inter-generational cycle of abuse for children, ages 3–18, who have witnessed domestic violence and abuse at home. Individual and group counselling and seasonal camps help children recognize abusive behaviour, learn the tools to cope with their experiences and emotions and consider alternatives to violence in their own behaviour. Support is also offered to parents/caregivers.

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

One in ten (10%) Canadians report witnessing violence committed by a parent or guardian against another adult in the home by age 15. Statistics Canada, 2015

Violence is Preventable (VIP) program

VIP is a public education and awareness program facilitated by the PEACE/Children Who Witness Abuse team that offers age-appropriate interactive workshops for elementary, middle and secondary school students.

This program helps 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 and educators about dating violence, healthy relationships, boundaries and more.

For our virtual VIP Video Series, click here.

NEW this year, our PEACE VIP team is running a Youth Engagement Project for self-motivated high school students interested in social justice and community activism. Find out 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 to come together for an intense experience of learning and fun. This annual summer camp run by the PEACE/Children Who Witness Abuse Program is an integral part of the programming we offer 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, PEACE/Children Who Witness Abuse Summer Camp 2019

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. Each 90-minute, weekly session is facilitated by specialized counsellors and covers one of the following key topics: gender expectations, including masculinity and addressing stereotypes; power and equality in relationships; healthy relationships with family and friends; healthy dating relationships, including issues related to consent; and anger, assertiveness, boundaries and self-esteem. Under the guidance of our professional counsellors, participants can explore these key themes through conversation and guided activities.

Click here to access a list of resources curated by the PEACE/Children Who Witness Abuse Program.