Work with domestic violence gained greater exposure after the amendments to
the Women's Charter in May 1997. It allowed an avenue of help to both vict
ims and the abusers, to seek professional help through the mandatory counse
lling programme at participating family service centres.
However an important component of the family, the children, who either witn
ess and/or experience the violence have somehow been given minimum attentio
n from the current continuum of services.
Recognising the need for a holistic service for families experiencing viole
nce, the Ang Mo Kio Family Centre piloted a specialised centre for family v
iolence called PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence). This centre offer
s a one-stop service to families living with violence. Among the programmes
offered is groupwork for children who witnessed violence.
The paper discusses the experiences of 21 children between the ages of four
to ten who have been through the child witnesses of violence programme ove
r the last two years. Adopting a qualitative approach to understanding the
experiences of children, it describes their responses to the violence and e
xamines their strengths and resources, which appear to have contributed to