The emergency shelter's and sheltered housing project's children areas
Children who witness violence at home are also victims. Consequently, a shelter for victims of domestic violence is also a shelter for children. Boys and girls living in a shelter have either themselves been victims of violence or experienced violence against their mothers. An atmosphere of violence and fear in their homes can affect the children's mental and physical conditions. This has also its impact on their mothers and the mother-child-relation. To support children in coping with their situation separate rooms in our shelter have been designated as children's area.
Our work with children is based on the principles of intercultural education. We respect the diversity of languages which are spoken by the children in our shelters We further hold the principle that all children should have equal opportunities of experiencing a richer life, irrespective of their background. intercultural approach is represented by the multicultural and multilingual staff. Children in our shelters receive appropriate support and assistance which meet their needs and experiences. The goals and concepts of our childcare work are adapted to the children's specific situation.
Care and support services for children are:
- Support children in coping with past and present experiences of threat and violence by individual one-on-one work with women as well as with children
- Assistance in the search for appropriate programs provided by services outside the shelter
- Assistance in contacting childcare institutions, schools and youth welfare departments etc.
- Assistance in the settlement of mother-child conflicts and support for mothers to develop their parenting skills
- Recreational activities
- Gender-related educational work with children
- Activities for residental and non-residental teenagers
- Körper- und sprachorientierte Integrationsarbeit mit Jungen
Children's counselling is usually done by multilingual staff. Counsellors who can communicate only in German will be assisted by an interpreter. We have noted that bilingual staff that are able to communicate with children in their native languages are of great value for the children's stabilization.
Child care in our sheltered housing project facilitates women's social integration as it gives them the time to get involved in job readiness trainings, to find a job or to apply to university. When they leave the shelter, employed or student mothers have better chances to find a day care place outside for their children than unemployed ones.