By Tim Leeds
The child's playroom is complete at the HRDC haven for victims of domestic violence, and program director Roxanne Ross said it's very successful.
HRDC has been increasingly supporting the child victims of domestic violence and abuse along with the needs of the abused spouse. Last year a large family room was converted to a playroom to help children from families with domestic violence.
The room, painted white with purple, aqua and green trim, has toys, art supplies, and a TV and VCR with movies specifically designed to help the children to express themselves and to deal with different situations.
"The playroom is complete," Ross said. "It looks beautiful."
One feature of the room is Spinoza, a stuffed bear which, along with cuddling and comforting the children, plays eight cassette tapes which help them relax, deal with their emotions and learn to express themselves. There are also four puppets and four video tapes which are used with the bear.
Ross said support from the community for the program is greatly appreciated. She said there have been donations of pencils, crayons, art, stamps, books and toys.
Ross said she is trying to find funding to have a child advocate with the program, but hasn't been ably to fund this yet. She said she will keep trying.
"It's vital," she said. "A lot of domestic violence programs do (have child advocates) and are very successful."
She said it's difficult just trying to maintain the funding for the advocates they have now. Right now, the main people in the program are just the staff and a couple of volunteers from Brethren in Volunteer Service.
Training Ross received in San Diego, Calif. focused on what effect domestic violence has on children and how response teams should handle them.
Statistics show that violence in the home affects children, and also affects their tolerance for violence in the home as an adult.
There is also an avenue for teens to talk about violence in their homes with the HRDC Crisis Hotline, 265-2222.
For more information about the HRDC Domestic Abuse Program, call 265-6743 during office hours.