Child abuse in our community – Radius Child & Youth Services

“No matter what neighborhood you pass through, all 4e, 5e or 6e house saw something. One in three girls and one in five boys will experience some form of abuse before the age of 18. And that’s absolutely independent of economic circumstances. “

“Without the support of Radius Child and Youth Services, I would not be where I am today, healthy, happy and looking forward to a bright future. Through their care, I look to the future with hope and I know I am worthy of love and attention. ” (Jakub, referred by a friend’s mother who noticed bruises when he was twelve. Read Jakub’s story here.)

Radius Children and Youth Services tackle abuse, neglect and interpersonal violence to help affected children up to the age of eighteen. They deal with about 450 clients, including 150 in Oakville. Unfortunately, many victims of abuse never get the help they need. Children and young people referred to Radius receive comprehensive assessments and individualized treatment based on evidence-based practice. Many of their young clients have been in treatment for over a year, with the average being 18 months.

During the pandemic, the waiting list was reduced from four months to eighteen months. A professional capable of helping a client facing sexual abuse should have at least one year of specialized training in addition to a master’s degree in social work. Thus, it was impossible to cope with the dramatically increased incidence of child abuse. Pressure on staff caring for victims, knowing that so many are languishing on the waiting list, has also taken its toll.

When Radius started almost 40 years ago (originally an amalgamation of the Halton Trauma Center and the Safe-T program in Thistletown), the concept of children’s mental health and the subject matter expertise were both new. Radius seeks to support children who have experienced abuse, neglect and witness interpersonal violence, giving them the tools and strategies to heal from the trauma they have suffered, building a future free of abuse. Radius also works with young people who were sexually assaulted before the age of eighteen: “Until that age we can influence the way they will act as adults and try to break the cycle that perpetuates them. abuse, by changing their development trajectory, ”explains Allan. Bishop, Acting General Manager. “The cycle of violence and abuse is generational. The victims, in turn, become perpetrators if the cycle is not interrupted.

“Every once in a while nightmares come back, but I feel like Radius Child and Youth Services has given me the tools to overcome them. (Madison, abuse survivor. Read about her journey here.)

Radius responds to trauma by working both inside and outside of family units, only reuniting families when he is absolutely certain it is safe to do so. About 90% of young offenders are men. Cases are referred by the Children’s Aid Society, schools and teachers, the United Way agency network, and sometimes the police. In the case of abusers, the juvenile justice system may hire Radius to try to prevent the abusers from reoffending. Sometimes Radius will be arrested by court order. Radius will also refer to other Centraide agencies when the case requires different skills.

Along with its responsive programs, Radius is developing a Youth Dating Violence Project to educate young people in mutual respect in order to break patterns that lead to abuse.

Needless to say, the pressure this work places on clinicians is serious. They too need support and to feel rewarded for their contribution to the community, especially during a pandemic. The staff of the center normally consists of between 25 and 28 clinical workers and 6 to 7 administrative staff. United Way funding allows Radius to maintain two senior clinicians in Halton, and the Ontario government funds core operations.

“Our relationship with Centraide is long-standing. The continuity of the support they provide has been key to our ability to hire, train and retain staff over the long term. The investment required to give staff the necessary specialist expertise in this area means this type of sustained funding is essential, ”says Allan.

Children victims of abuse, neglect and interpersonal relationships vIOlence needs our help. It takes a village to raise a child; it has been famously said. Our community must be that village for these children, victims of intergenerational trauma manifested in severe abuse that can, without proper treatment and support, cripple their lives forever. There are many societal implications for untreated children and youth for abuse and neglect, including an impact on our mental health system and the safety and health of the community. You can help Radius Child and Youth Services by donating to Centraide.

Many of us have charities that we support for personal reasons. However, there is a wide variety of needs in our community. Centraide goes to great lengths to identify these needs and find and help vital agencies with good processes to meet them. United Way funds mean these agencies can devote more of their resources to helping Oakville residents and fewer of them looking for money. As donors, we may not know the best way to allocate our donations, but the donations of all sizes from many Oakville residents can be best exploited through United Way. And who knows when we, or someone close to us, will need help from one of these services. Our donations to the United Way ensure that they will all be there for us if that day comes.

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