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Feb. 10 is the beginning of Family Violence Prevention Week in P.E.I. Most of us may not spend too much time thinking about violence within families. Who wants to think about such a shocking situation as violence against children and violence within relationships? Family violence is generally a well-kept secret. Secrets can kill a mind, a spirit and a life especially when it is kept within the confines of a family. Police-reported data shows that three in five child and youth victims of family violence were victimized by a parent/caregiver. (Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2014). This is only the abuse which has been reported. The damage of abuse on children and witnessed by children can last a lifetime. In our work with people in the justice system as well as in the recovery process of addiction across P.E.I., we have noticed that the repercussions of family violence create vicious cycles of unhealthy behaviours in these individuals as they grow into teens and young adults. No one grows up aspiring to be a drug addict, a thief or a violent person. The stories we hear in our work often begin with root issues of abuse of every shape and form, which started when children were powerless to help themselves. The sad part of this story comes when an adult is told and the child’s report is dismissed or the child is blamed for the violence perpetrated upon her. Let us be a community that protects our children from the atrocities of family violence. No more secrets.
Executive Director with Open Door Outreach