Breaking the cycle
Often a symptom of poverty, another barrier to an individual’s personal wellbeing can originate from within the household. When one person in a relationship overtakes control and begins a pattern of domestic abuse, it can mean the complete breakdown of the family dynamic and puts partners and their children at immense risk. This became even more prevalent with the COVID-19 pandemic, as we were staying home for our collective safety, many victims of family violence were put at a greater risk.
The repercussions of domestic abuse can create long-term issues not just for the survivors but also for any family members who live adjacent to the situation. When children are exposed at a young age to the trauma of family violence, it can have detrimental affects on their ability to succeed in school and in their community.
Even more dire, evidence suggests that children who regularly witness abuse begin to believe that violence is a normal part of the family relationship. Thus, creating a cycle of violence and poverty that is extremely hard to break free from. Domestic violence creeps into every aspect of the affected person’s life. Employment, social connectedness and mental health all begin to suffer. United Way helps support families to break away from these vicious cycles and allow them to feel healthy, safe and strong.
Intimate partner violence accounts for one out of every four violent crimes reported to police, but, less than one in five victims of intimate partner violence reports it to police.
During periods of quarantine, domestic violence calls spiked by almost 12 per cent.
One-quarter of victims of police-reported violence are victimized by a family member
Women and girls accounted for two-thirds (67%) of all victims of family violence in 2019.
What are we doing about it?
United Way Niagara invests in emergency shelters, court support and counselling for victims of domestic violence. Often times, victims are left without a familial advocate to assist them in the process of starting their life without their abuser. This can lead to homelessness, food insecurity and poor mental health. We support prevention efforts and education to reduce cases of domestic and sexual violence in our community. Allowing children to be all that they can be means a safe and happy home to grow up in, free from witnessing abuse. Together, we can help women and their families break cycles of violence to see their children grow up experiencing all Niagara has to offer.
“I needed a safe place to stay, as I was fleeing abuse and could not go home. There a space in transitional housing that became available. Since it is not temporary like a shelter, it has allowed me time to settle and rebuild. If I were not involved in this program, my options were to either stay in a shelter of become homeless while waiting for affordable housing. This program provided me with a safe place to live, where I feel supported and where my family and I can breathe while we re-start our lives free from violence.”