Oakville Children Suffer from Abuse


“At this time, on behalf of Sarah*, Allison* and myself, as we come to the end of this journey and begin our new one, we would like to thank you for always making us feel welcome and most of all comfortable. It’s been a year fraught with many ups and downs, but as the weeks passed we began to see this glimmer of hope. Words cannot express how very grateful we are for your help and support. When our days seemed darkest, you were there to guide us through… Sarah and Allison were hesitant about treatment at first, but deep down they knew that you were there to help them as well as me… You gave us comfort, encouragement, support, understanding, patience and most of all hope. It is my hope that one day we might be in a position to help others at the centre.” – grateful parent and client

You’re in the dark, scared, alone and starving. Your parents left hours ago, and they didn’t say when they would be back. Will they come back? You’re only six; you don’t know how to make yourself food yet. You lie down on the floor and hug your teddy bear while you try not to cry.

photo credit: Kaity Wuebbolt

photo credit: Kaity Wuebbolt

While this may seem like a scene from a tear-jerking movie, it is unfortunately a reality for many children in Oakville and worldwide. One in three girls and one in five boys will be abused before they turn 18. This is why the Halton Trauma Centre (HTC) exists, to help and support victims of abuse and their families.

Margaret McConnell, the fundraising coordinator for HTC, has seen far too many children dealing with abuse.

“We see a lot of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, self-worth and body issues. A lot of the children we see think that they deserve the abuse, or that it’s their fault. Of course we know better, but they’ve often lived with it for so long that they think that (the abuse is) normal.”

The HTC sees about 400 to 500 families a year. They give individual treatment as well as family treatment, and give victims as rounded a healing process as possible. They offer multiple healing programs, dealing with issues from physical and sexual abuse to neglect and sibling incest.

“Over 27,000 children are being abused  in Oakville and Halton region,” said McConnell. “That’s a huge gap between those who are being treated and those who need treatment.  Receiving counseling and treatment should be a right, not an issue.”

logosnallAlthough McConnell said that there are not as many stigmas facing people receiving treatment as there was a few years ago, there is still the thought that abuse only happens in poor, uneducated families. She stressed that abuse is not a socioeconomic issue, and that there are no boundaries for abuse.

But with so much mistreatment going on, is there anything that a community can do about it?

“One of the things that the community can help with is donations,” said McConnell. “It takes about $1,600 to conduct an assessment, and before we can start treatment we need to do an assessment. What they can also do is support us in our fundraisers, either by volunteering to help run them or by participating in them.”

To protect the anonymity of families, the HTC does not accept volunteers at the centre itself.

*names have been altered 


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