As the oldest domestic violence agency in the county and the third oldest in the nation, WTLC has been helping individuals and families escape the depths of violence and exploitation since 1976. While our work with survivors is plentiful and rewarding, we also recognize that working exclusively with survivors (and children) means we are only serving about half the population involved in violent situations. The truth is, there is a whole group of people involved in intimate violence that often do not find the support they need to help end the cycle of abuse: the person who caused harm.
We recognize people who cause harm also need support and rehabilitation. Very often, people who cause harm are themselves survivors of abuse and violence from a very young age. Being a victim of violence in the home as a child and as an adolescent is a traumatic experience that shapes the way we view ourselves, the ways we view the world, the ways we view relationships, and the ways we interact with people in those relationships.
Trauma experienced by people who cause harm often leads them to be unable to regulate their emotions or express their frustrations in healthy ways, thus activating the schema developed in early childhood that manifests itself as violence and abuse in intimate relationships. WTLC’s trauma-informed approach recognizes this, and also recognizes that like survivors recovering from trauma, people who cause harm can also recover from their traumatic past and re-learn healthy ways to interact with the world and with their intimate partners.
Thus, we believe that it is through helping those who cause harm that we can make a larger impact in breaking the cycle of violence in our communities. Everyone has the right to heal, and given the right amount of support, everyone has the ability to heal.