When domestic violence disrupts a home, how do children cope?

For many of our child advocacy clients, SIBS Club is a key tool.

With the guidance of Sandra Graham-Bermann, PhD, our advocates modified her Kids Club program to better meet the needs of Northeast Iowa families dealing with domestic violence. Kids Club was intended to be a multi-family support group for children, but with local weather and transportation issues, it did not work.

A Northeast Iowa Solution

Our adapted program, SIBS Club (short for siblings), goes one step further than its parent program by giving each family group its own “club” and enhancing sibling bonds, tightened through their unique experiences. About ten weekly club sessions are held in the family home, where kids are the most comfortable, and our child advocates get to be observing club members.

What does Mom think?

One mother shared her children’s club experience with Trish, a child advocate:

“My children have been in the child advocacy program for the past seven to eight months. It has been an amazing program for them. My children, ranging from 4 to 17-years-old, have each benefited from it. It has taught them to come together as a group to let each other know their feelings and that it’s okay to have your own feelings. In fact, my oldest daughter will even comment when things get tough, “Let’s have a SIBS meeting.” In a domestic abuse situation, trust is a very uncomfortable thing to feel. SIBS taught them to not be judgmental and to communicate and say what you feel.

My six-year-old continues with Trish and loves that time. Trish is an open person who does not have sides and who she trust. It is an awesome feeling to know your child has that one person she feels okay telling her feelings to.

As for Trish, she is an amazing, warm-hearted lady, who is so kind. I feel good talking to her. She has helpful ideas and a calming tone that takes your worries away. I can’t express what an amazing option this is for kids. I love the fact that people can make such an impact on a child during such a difficult time.”

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