An estimated 15.5 million U.S. children live in families where they have witnessed domestic violence, and seven million children live in families in which severe partner violence has occurred. More than half of the survivors served in our emergency shelter at Women In Distress are children.
Arthur, the artist of the art work displayed here, is one of the children that received counseling in our Children’s Support Services. He came to us after experiencing the trauma of domestic violence. At first he was shy and withdrawn. The more he worked with his therapist, the more confident he became. Until finally, he found himself being less angry and withdrawn and more comfortable expressing himself. He became a super hero. Helping children become their own super heroes is what we strive to do every day through the services that we provide to the children of domestic violence abuse survivors.
The Children’s Support Services at Women In Distress provides a variety of services to children ages 4-17, such as respite care, parenting, children’s groups and individual counseling. While parents are receiving services, their children are cared for in a child friendly, safe environment that we call Respite. Respite staff provides a schedule of activities for the children such as arts and crafts, puppet shows, movies, and other related activities. We also provide individual and group counseling for survivor’s children. Within those sessions our counselors help to deal with issues like rapport building and anger management, and use play sessions and counseling games to help children begin to overcome the trauma of domestic violence.
In recognition of the services that we provide to help children, a beloved supporter and donor, Lois Herman, set up the Hal Herman’s Children’s Fund in honor of Hal’s 80th birthday The fund was set up to help children who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence. Through the fund the smallest survivors of domestic violence can receive the support they need, including supervised care while their parent is in counseling, help from specialized therapists that use play and art therapy, and more. The fund also supports Women In Distress programs and services such as emergency safe shelter, a 24-Hour Crisis Hotline, economic empowerment services, and more. Supporters of the Hal Herman Children’s Fund are recognized on the Hal Herman Children’s Fund wall at the Jim and Jan Moran Family Center Campus.