Victims & Survivors of Crime Week 2022
May 13, 2022 - Community & Advocacy
Frances Nuvoloni is the Lead Child Witness Program Clinician at LFCC, and is an advocate for children in the London-Middlesex area. She details how you can become an advocate for victims and survivors of crime in your own community circles.
How Can the Community Become Advocates for Victims and Survivors of Crime?
In London-Middlesex alone, The Child Witness Program served about 200 children and youth who were victims and survivors of crime in the past year. The majority being survivors of sexually based offences. Children and youth are more vulnerable as they are developing cognitive reasoning, self-esteem, and trust. A child thinks and reacts very different than an adult because their brain is still growing as well, they may not understand that what is happening to them is a crime. These internal factors can intertwine with environmental influences such as socioeconomic status, parental health, parent’s education level, family stress, and exposure to intimate partner violence.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because to become an advocate, you have to understand why children are vulnerable and how to recognize if a child is at risk or has been a victim of crime. Some indicators that may signal that a child is at risk or is being victimized are: not wanting to be left alone, changes in eating habits, excessive worrying, regressive behaviours like bedwetting, sexual behaviour that is inappropriate for their age, self-harming behaviours, nightmares, and unexplained bruising or bleeding, to name a few. Knowledge is power and with the many resources offered on the London Family Court Clinic website, you can become more knowledgeable in protecting the children and youth in your community. For example, the resource Online Abuse: Virtual violence and its impact on young women and girls written by Heather Fredin offers resources for service providers, parents, and youth to help understand and navigate the complex world of online interpersonal violence. If you ever suspect a child or youth is being victimized, please contact your local Children’s Aid Society or your local police.
Children and youth are resilient, and every one of them deserves to be protected. Let’s all work together to create a community that is knowledgeable of the dangers and can identify if a child is at risk or has become a victim of crime.
How Can I Support the Work That the Child Witness Project Is Doing?
Great question! The Child Witness Project uses donations to support the work of our facility dog, including toys, food, transportation, and shelter. Children rely on our facility dog! Feel free to make a donation here.
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