Abuse Is Wrong In Any Culture: for First Nations and Métis people

What is happening to my children?

"It's emotional hell for the children. The children don't have the skills to deal with it. Kids wonder if they are the cause, they're in the middle."

(from Aboriginal Women and Family Violence, Canada, National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008).

You must put your children's needs first. They can be shown by your example how to break the cycle of violence if they find themselves in violent relationships later in their lives.

Children are key to breaking the cycle of violence. Seeing or hearing you being abused hurts your children—it changes how they feel about both you and your partner and about themselves. And they may learn from watching the person who is violent to you that they don't need to respect you.

Children know that you are being abused, even if you hope they don't notice.

How are children harmed?

The cost to children of living with violence and abuse in their families is often hidden. Children can develop serious health problems from witnessing abuse. Children can grow up to be violent toward themselves and others. They may also learn to put up with being abused because they've gotten used to it by watching your relationship with your partner.

Many feel insecure, don't like themselves, cannot pay attention in school, and "act out" in harmful ways like destroying property, bullying others and hurting themselves. Some children may avoid going home, turn to drugs, solvents or alcohol; they may cut themselves or attempt (or commit) suicide. They may have relationship problems, as they grow up believing that it is normal for people in families or relationships who "love" each other to hurt each other. They may also suffer long-term physical or mental health problems.

Often children suffer in silence. Some try to be invisible and others work at being "super good."

"When they live in that environment, the children only see that, they only live that. For them, it's normal... It stops them from living their childhood."

(from Aboriginal Women and Family Violence, Canada, National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada, 2008).

When you're being abused, it's extra hard to take care of your kids. You're probably so exhausted all the time, it feels impossible to give them what they need.

Encourage your children to reach out and spend time with a trusted relative, Elder or friend who can give them support while you make the necessary changes in your life.

If your children are also being hurt, get help for them right away. Child abuse is against the law. If you are being abused and have children in the home, the law requires you and anyone else who knows to contact child protection authorities.

Children must be protected from abuse!

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