PUTTING a bit of colour back into the lives of traumatised children is a new purpose-built space at Ballarat’s WRISC organisation.
Officially opened last week, the room offers a safe environment for children to play music, show their artistic talent and eventually feel comfortable enough to talk to WRISC counsellors about their problems.
Through its play, art and music, the specialised children’s program at WRISC helps children find their voice and make sense of what has happened to them, as well as develop new coping mechanisms.
WRISC executive officer Jacinta Wainwright said the organisation existed to change the lives of women and children affected by family violence. “I don’t need to tell you about the terrible impact violence has on children, particularly when that violence happens at home,” Ms Wainwright said at last week’s official opening of the new children’s room.
“It is through play, art and music that children can find their voice, make sense of what has happened, and develop new ways of being in the world. Drawing is like putting my mind on paper and the colours make them feel safe.
“We have ever increasing rates of family violence in our community, as told by police and other statistics. It is often suggested that this is a result of greater awareness and reporting rather than increasing violence. I don’t know which it is – but what my experience tells me is that it is still only the beginning of us realising the full extent and significance of the problem. What I also know unequivocally, is that only by working together as a community can we change it; and we can change it.”
Ms Wainwright said the children’s room enabled WRISC to continue providing services for the many women and children affected by violence.
“This room will primarily be a space for creative art therapies with children. It will also, we hope, provide a meeting space for women’s and other community groups working in partnership with WRISC to stop this violence.
“This humble space provides us with a vast array of opportunities to continue to make a difference in the lives of women and children affected by violence.”