Many of the women who enter Interval House of Ottawa bring their children with them. Children and youth that have lived in abusive and/or violent homes are impacted by violence, and that’s why our Children’s Program is tailored to meet their individual needs.
We want the children residing at Interval House of Ottawa to feel safe and move towards healing and building their self-esteem. It is important to understand how abuse and/or violence affects children, even when not directed towards them.
The program offers:
- After-school programs that include a Homework Club and a Youth Group, as well as other fun bonding activities that encourage kids to interact with one another and feel connected to the group as a whole
- Children’s workshops
- Movie nights that give kids a chance to relax
- A themed toy-and-game room that encourages healthy socializing and creative play
- Child care for mom Monday to Thursday while she takes care of appointments
- Reading club
- Bedtime stories with moms and children
- Weekly family outings to different fun places around the city that are often educational and always fun
- Liaisons to child-centered community services, such as youth counsellors, speech therapists and school transportation services, whenever possible
- Other seasonal activities
Children are little imitators. They learn social conduct through the observation and replication of the behaviour of influential people in their lives. Four out of every five children who live in a violent home witness the violence taking place—as a result, the impact of growing up in such traumatic circumstances is staggering.
Children who grow up in abusive homes are more likely to suffer from:
- emotional, social, cognitive, physical and behavioural problems
- high rates of depression
- withdrawal and passivity
- fear and anxiety
- low self-esteem
- difficulty concentrating in school
- physical ailments (such as stomach aches)
- hostility and aggression
Children being raised in violent homes learn that aggression is an acceptable problem-solver in familial and romantic relationships; they learn that abused women deserve to be punished and humiliated. It is not uncommon for children raised in abusive homes to end up in abusive relationships–as either aggressors or victims–in adulthood. This is called the cycle of violence.
Counselling and group support services are available for children who witness violence. Click here for a list of agencies in the Ottawa area that can help.