Domestic violence ruins the childhood of millions of children each year. It instills feelings of fear, guilt and shame, and it teaches children that violence is a way to solve their problems. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to commit suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teen-age prostitution and commit sexual assault crimes (Peled, Jaffe and Edelson, 1995). Without education and support, children who witness domestic violence are likely to repeat the cycle as adults.
WAVE (Working Against Violent Environments) serves victims of intimate partner violence in Winnebago and Boone County. Each year, WAVE provides services including emotional support, domestic violence education, shelter and advocacy to approximately 2,000 (unduplicated) adults and children.
WAVE provides individual and group support and education for children who have witnessed domestic violence against a parent. Although WAVE provides services to approximately 400 children each year, this is not enough to make an impact in our community.
Children who grow up in homes where one partner abuses the other, often experience a lot of trauma due to the violence they have witnessed. Those children benefit from therapy and additional supportive services. Although WAVE staff does not provide therapy services, WAVE refers children for contractual therapy whenever the funding is available. As funding cuts continue to occur, this is more and more difficult to accomplish.
WAVE has just started its first campaign to raise money to support further childrens services. The goal is to raise $40,000 by July 1. Any amount, no matter how big or small, will benefit the children in the community. Every time a person or organization donates at least $1,000, a teddy bear will be given to a child who receives services through WAVE. The money raised through the campaign will be used to provide additional services to children who witness domestic violence. If you would like to donate to WAVE, contact the PHASE/WAVE Administrative Office at 966-1285.
From the June 7-13, 2006, issue