Violence - you can make a difference - Violence against children
Break the cycle of violence—give children a chance
"I wish my mom and dad
would stop fighting.
He gets mad and hurts her."

Excerpt from Canada's Private Broadcasters' 1996 anti-Violence
Radio and Television Campaign


What you can do to help a child who is living in an abusive family

  • Listen and believe. If children disclose information on the violence in their homes they are saying they trust you, listen and believe them!
  • Important messages for children to hear are:
    - Violence is not okay; no one deserves to be abused.
    - It's not your fault. You are not to blame for the violence.
    - All feelings are okay. Feeling angry is okay, but it's not okay to hurt others because you're angry.
    - You have the right to be safe and happy.
    - If you are feeling sad or scared, tell someone. We don't have to keep secrets that make us feel that way.
  • Give them the Kids Help Phone # 1-800-668-6868. Young people can call and talk about a problem that's bothering them. Nobody else needs to know and it's free.
  • Help children work out what they can do when they are scared and need to get away from the violent outbursts at home. Help them make a safety plan.
  • Be a friend to a child. Show her or him by example that adults can settle problems without violence.
  • Provide a place of warmth that is "safe" where children can get away from the pressures at home.
  • Pay attention to the overly aggressive child, the withdrawn and submissive child, or the child who is failing to thrive. These are often signs that there is abuse within the family.
  • Involve children in community activities. Friendships can help them gain the security they are missing in their families.


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What you can do to make your community better for children
  and women

  • Learn more about child abuse and violence against women.
    Violence against women and children can no longer be treated as a "private family matter".  It's a serious social problem that makes victims of us all.  Find out more about how your community responds.
    - What services and supports are in place for children who witness or experience violence in their families?
    - how well informed is your doctor, spiritual leader, child care worker and teacher about child abuse and violence against women?
    - Do your local politicians support services for women and children?
  • Work for change on a very personal and family level.  As adults we need to "practice what we preach" if we are to be good role models for children.
    - Encourage co-operation rather than competition.
    - Follow a "no hitting" rule.  Avoid spanking as a form of disciplin or control of children.
    - Treat others with respect and dignity.
    - Model non-violent ways to deal with conflict.
    - Challenge sexist attitudes and behaviours.
Canadian Association of Broadcasters logo
  • Volunteer.  Community organizations concerned with family violence issues need volunteers to help them carry out their work.
    - Train to work on the youth crisis line.
    - Raise funds for your local women's shelter.
    - Help organize a family violence awareness event with your community association or your children's school
  • Speak up for new services.  If your community doesn't have the services needed to support children, work with others to start something.
    - support the establishment of a group for children who witness violence.
    - Find out about promoting organizations that provide positive social and learning environments for children.
    - Write letters to the newspaper protesting funding cuts to community support services for children at risk.
Material prepared by Denham Gillespie Associates, Social work Consultants.

Violence - you can make a difference

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In partnership with:
Canadian Heritage
Health Canada
Department of Justice Canada
Status of Women Canada
Human Resources Development Canada
National Defence
Royal Canadian Mounted Police