Child witnesses to domestic violence: For children who witness domestic violence, home is not a safe or happy place. Every year as many as 3.3 million American children see or hear their mothers being hit, pushed, kicked, thrown down stairs, verbally abused, or murdered. The effects of what they witness can be devastating and long-lasting.
Witnessing domestic violence causes physical and emotional harm to children. Children may feel frightened, anxious, depressed, or angry. Often they feel guilty, as if somehow it was their fault. Some children feel withdrawn, while others become aggressive, copying the abuser’s behavior. They may feel pressure to choose which parent to love, or feel torn between love and anger toward the abuser.
VIBS offers counseling for children as young as 3 who have been witnesses to domestic violence or homicide.
- Trauma-Focused Creative Arts Therapy & Child Centered Counseling to children aged 3 and up
- Through play, art, or drama therapy, the child and therapist interact, using toys, games, stories and other creative materials.
- The goal is to reinforce safety, comfort, coping skills, work through the traumatic events and plan for the future.
- Address visitation issues
- Safety planning with parent and child
- Guidance sessions and weekly consultations for non-offending parents or guardians.
VIBS’ Specialty with witnesses of severe violence: VIBS specializes in counseling for children who have witnessed or are affected by severe violence, such as:
- Witnesses to domestic murder or murder-suicide
- Children whose abusive parent has committed suicide
- Children whose victimized parent has life threatening
Children who are exposed to battering become fearful and anxious. They never know what will trigger the abuse, and therefore, never feel safe. They may feel isolated, worthless and powerless. Most experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence is an effective way to resolve problems. It is important that children get counseling for these issues so that they have the coping tools to lead healthy and safe lives once they get through the trauma and to break the cycle of violence.
You can call (631) 360-3730 to learn more about the VIBS Children’s Program or to schedule an appointment.
Michelle Celestrin, Bilingual Children’s Counselor
Evan Haun, Child and Adult Counselor
Natalie Gmora-Nyman, Child and Adult Counselor
Alex Whicker, Child and Adult Counselor
Katelyn McGowan, Child and Adult Counselor
Steve Nillsen, Childcare Worker