Family Works would like to thank all our incredible social workers in schools (SWiS), family workers and counsellors for the big difference they make to children and families.
Every day, our Family Works staff see the impact of family violence and poverty in Kiwi homes.
*Gemma’s story is one example of how Family Works brings hope to distressed families and heartbroken children. Gemma and her seven children were traumatised by her partner, a patched gang member who regularly forced the children to witness his abuse of their mother. They were never allowed to cry or talk about the violence they saw. As a result, the children were showing signs of deep emotional scars. Even when their father was in prison, they were terrified of what he would do when he was released. The constant shadow of danger gave them nightmares and panic attacks.
A Family Works counsellor spent a long time helping this family heal. They provided a safe place where the children could talk about the hidden secrets and dark memories they’d never been allowed to voice before. In art sessions, the children painted and drew their pain and trauma, hopes and dreams. Slowly, they were able to become normal, everyday kids again, and their eyes and smiles grew bright once more.
There is still a long way to go before these children are completely safe from harm, but they have made lots of progress, as shown by their response when their father was released: “We can live in fear and worry ourselves sick, or we can get on with our lives and have fun.”
*Name changed to protect identity.