Our child services recognise that children and young people have very different needs from their mother in a situation of domestic violence.
Whether a child has experienced or witnessed domestic violence, the effects can be severe. So we have specially trained children’s advocates who work closely with children to make sure their voice is heard, their rights are upheld and their needs are met.
If you and your children are staying at a Women’s Refuge safe house, or in the community one of our skilled children’s advocates will actively offer support by:
- advocating for the care and protection of your child
- providing information and support for schooling and child daycare centres
- providing information and support for the child’s medical needs
- providing information and support for government processes and actions
- finding any special services a child may need, such as a teacher’s aide
- supporting your child in being part of decision-making about the future where appropriate
- identifying gaps and barriers for the protection and wellbeing of the child.
Our children’s programmes
Your local refuge runs children’s domestic violence education and support groups. Some refuges also have a children’s subcommittee or advocate.
Tamariki Domestic Violence Education Programme
This programme is for children aged five to 12 witnessing or experiencing domestic violence in their homes. It provides a safe environment for children to discover and talk about their feelings, learn how to action their feelings, and be assured that the violence is not their fault. Children get to develop and practice their own Safety Plans to protect themselves from violence. A visit from local police helps encourage children to ring 111 in an emergency. Contact your local refuge for more information.
He Tāonga te Mokopuna
This programme is for pre-schoolers, and provided by Māori advocates. It utilises the home environment, encouraging parents and caregivers to be involved. It also provides a safe environment for children to discover and talk about their feelings, learn how to action their feelings, and be assured that the violence is not their fault. It allows parents and caregivers to hear how their actions affect their tamariki, and assists them to make positive changes. Contact your local refuge for more information.
The Women’s Refuge kaupapa for children
We strongly believe that:
- All children have the right to live in a safe domestic environment free from violence.
- No child is responsible for the violence used against them.
- Child victims are suffering from the effects of living with violence, not from any inherent psychological problems or deficiencies.
- Violent behaviour is a learned behaviour.
- Planned intervention is necessary to break the cycle of violence from being passed on from one generation to the next.
More services for children
We offer training for individuals or organisations interested in child advocacy.