Children Witnessing Violence

In our experience of serving for women of domestic violence, we have seen the deep concern in women for the influence of violence on their children who have witnessed violence (shortened as children witnessing violence). We also found that if the cycle of violence is not solved, children will copy the interpersonal model in their parents’ intimate relations either by repeating the violence users’ behaviors and resort to violence for problem solving or put up with everything, even unreasonably and wrong ones.

In view of this, to look squarely at the issue of the physical and psychological development in children witnessing violence, the TWRF began to carry out its care for children witnessing violence series activities in the years of 1999 and 2000 and aimed to advocate for children-related issues. During the period from 2001 to 2003, The TWRF began to provide group therapy sessions for children witnessing violence and arranged individual counseling for them, while holding a series of professional training workshops for consultant staff, training professional consultants in this field, and joined hands with social, political, and educational systems to care for this group.

From our work in the field, we came to the realization that individual counseling or guidance groups alone could not handle the diversified and complicated needs of children witnessing violence. We also saw the necessity of linking resources in the children’s environment. For this reason, the TWRF Domestic Violence Division incorporated full-time social workers by the end of 2003 to assist children on the one hand and cooperate with social workers for women on the other to provide service for families of marital violence.

At present in Taiwan, child and youth resources for children witnessing violence are still rather scattered and the urgency of this issue is oftentimes marginalized, it is therefore necessary to develop more direct service models and carry out further campaigns on this issue. In response to this, the TWRF established Children Witnessing Violence Service Division in January 2005 to provide service for cases referred from related organizations and the general public who seek help by themselves as well as children in the cases of women of marital violence. We centered our service on the developmental requirements of children witnessing violence and linked up with related resources to form a cooperative and labor division professional network. Meanwhile, the TWRF also began to launch on-campus campaign to promote the awareness of the issue of children witnessing violence. We hope to draw attention from the frontline teachers and parents to children witnessing violence and inspire them to provide more care and support for these children. We further set up a Children Witnessing Violence Hotline by the end of 2005 (02-25555915) and offer counseling and help-seeking channels for related personnel and the general public in the aspect of this issue.