All children living in homes where there is violence against women are aware of the violence and are affected by it. But the consequences can be quite severe.
Some children die.
Children are in danger of domestic homicide
When a child is killed, up to 20% of the time there is a connection to violence between adults in the home.
In Ontario between 2002 and 2007:
- 23 children died in the context of domestic violence
- 61 children were present during a domestic homicide
- 16 children witnessed a domestic homicide
Even if the abuse is not targeted at a child nor any threats made against the child specifically, the child is at risk. For example, a child homicide may be revenge against the mother as punishment for leaving the abusive relationship. Abuse of the kids may provide an opportunity to hurt the original victim who is no longer accessible.
If a woman’s life is at risk, her children will also be in danger. That risk is minimized when it is recognized and there is an effective safety plan in place.
Protecting children by helping mothers
By helping themselves, mothers protect their children. We provide emergency shelter to mothers and their children at Anselma House in Kitchener and at Haven House in Cambridge.
When we help a mother create a safety plan, it takes into consideration both her safety and her children’s safety. Safety plans are made with a caller on the crisis line, when a woman and her children enter the shelter and also by Outreach workers. Outreach workers support women who do not come into shelter or have recently left shelter.
Helping children by helping their mothers
Beyond the issue of physical safety, a mother helps her children when she seeks and receives help.
To help mothers move themselves beyond violence, we connect them with community resources that can assist them to establish a better life for themselves and their children.
If necessary, our assistance includes helping mothers navigate the legal system, work with other agencies involved such as Family and Children Services and refer to help in the community, such as counselling or Food Bank.
We also support mothers to be the best parent they can be. We know that children who have lived in a home with violent or controlling behavior can have behviour and social difficulties. When a mom learns how to understand and deal with those, she can help her child move beyond the violence she or he has experienced.
Help yourself. Help your kids.
If you have an unhealthy relationship and experience violent, abusive or controlling behavior, take action to help yourself and your kids.
Contact us for support, 24 hours a day.
Crisis line: Anselma 519 742 5894 Haven House 519 653 2422