The overall objective of the program is to stop the inter-generational cycle of abuse by teaching children, non-violent ways of resolving conflict and by promoting the process of healing.
The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children:
The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children has been documented for two decades by clinical research. Research studies show that children who witness or experience violence are at considerable risk of developing a range of physical, psychological, and behavioural problems. Exposure to violence can result in headaches, abdominal pains, stuttering, enuresis, sleep disturbances, eating problems, acting overly responsible, poor concentration, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, phobias, withdrawal, aggression, defiance, suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Witnessing violence can result in fear, helplessness, and overstimulation of the nervous system. Domestic violence threatens children’s sense of emotional security in the home because of the threat to their own care and the integrity of the family.
There is growing evidence that children who witness domestic violence are at significant risk to repeat the dysfunctional relationship patterns that they have learned in their families. Unfortunately, these children develop the belief that verbal and physical abuses are appropriate forms of conflict resolution.
It is critical for parents to become aware of the adverse effects that witnessing violence has on children. Parents need to recognize the connection between domestic violence and their children’s emotional and social adjustment. Children who have witnessed domestic violence need support and counselling to deal with their feelings and with the physical and emotional consequences of the violence.