Domestic Violence and Children
More than 15 million children in the United States live in homes in which domestic violence has happened at least once, yet children are often completely left out of conversations and education surrounding domestic violence.
Almost half of our clients every year at the NWAWS are children. So, we have staff members dedicated to solely serve the needs of children in shelter to ensure they are well-cared for. Our services for children include therapeutic play and therapeutic art, school registration, and support group. Topics in support group include: anger management, coping skills, safety planning, safety awareness, developing emotional language, and communication of needs. Our Family Advocate also leads parenting classes to teach clients with children how to recognize trauma and help their children cope with it.
We recognize that our clients with children need support from staff and volunteers as they search for jobs, search for housing, and try to meet their overall goals. Child care vouchers are available for our clients with children, and we provide child care for our adults while they are in counseling sessions and group therapy sessions.
Our Child Advocate said his top priority when kids come into shelter is to make them feel welcome and give them permission to have fun. When living in a household where domestic violence is present, kids don’t have the freedom just to enjoy being kids, and kids who experienced domestic violence at a young age are at higher risk for health problems as adults because they don’t know how to deal with their trauma.
Our Child Advocate likes to show kids that they can, “Create a happy environment no matter what they are going up against.”