He could be your student.
With you, he’s out of control. At home, he feels powerless.
You hear him calling the girls names, but you don’t know that what he hears at home is worse.
He can’t seem to understand long division, but his mom’s attention has been divided for so long he can’t remember the last time she helped him with his homework.
He throws a fit when he doesn’t get his way, but his dad does it too, so why can’t he? So he hides his pain, because he doesn’t know what else to do.
The concept that children can be shielded from the consequences of domestic abuse is highly flawed. According to the Government of Canada “It is now known that witnessing family violence is as harmful as experiencing it directly. Often parents believe that they have shielded their children from spousal violence, but research shows that children see or hear some 40% to 80% of it. Children who witness family violence suffer the same consequences as those who are directly abused. In other words, a child who witnesses spousal violence is experiencing a form of child abuse.”
Despite our legal system considering the capacity for the care of children to be separate from a person’s abusive acts towards their partner, there are very real effects of domestic abuse on the mental, psychological, and emotional upbringing of the children involved. 90% of children and youth are in the same or next room during an attack on their mothers and researchers and statisticians are releasing new evidence of the severe consequences of this regularly.
This is where the Kelowna Women’s Shelter’s PEACE Program was born. Standing for Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling, and Empowerment, PEACE is a psycho-educational program focused on providing age-appropriate guidance to children who may have witnessed or been a part of abuse themselves. Using research-based methods, the program aims to break the cycle of abuse, empower children and youth to develop positive self-esteem, and provide tools and skills that allow them the ability to express themselves in healthy ways.
During the 30 years of offering this program, we have witnessed firsthand the profound impact it has had not only on the mother's ability to focus on safety planning and growth but also provided an outlet and skill-set for children who were affected by the abusive situation. The number of women requesting help from the PEACE program in our little community is staggering. Last year alone, we provided over 580 counselling sessions to children and youth in need, all looking for help to feel less powerless and alone in their struggles.
And it is Hidden in Plain Sight.
Help us bring these hidden Domestic Abuse issues into sight….donate today!