Kara FVS news
November 20, 2020

Using art to give family violence victims a voice

20 April 2020

For victims of family violence, the impact of trauma can make it incredibly difficult to verbalise thoughts.

Strong feelings of shame, humiliation, guilt and fear around speaking of the abuse can make it even more difficult for them to receive the support and direction they really need.

Women often arrive at Kara House with very little, having fled their home, job, family and community. It is an incredibly isolating and stressful time. Talking about trauma and engaging with trained specialists during the initial crisis is an incredibly important part of their road to recovery.

In 2018, we introduced the Art Therapy Program to help our clients during this time. Each fortnight, clients at the refuge participate in a  two hour session where they are taken through aspecifically designed artistic exercise. The program is facilitated by an accredited Art Therapist and a Kara House Specialist Family Violence Practitioner.

The art therapy provides an empowering outlet to process feelings and thoughts, by allowing them to express themselves through art rather than verbal language. Clients can make sense of frightful memories and find their way through the chaos and raw emotion of abuse.

Most importantly, art therapy provides opportunities for discussion and engagement, allowing Kara House to help the women create strategies for a better future for themselves and their children.

Art therapy has been identified as a therapeutic response appropriate for women and children of all ages impacted by the trauma of family violence. We have had great feedback from the participants, and we believe initiatives like the Art Therapy Program greatly improve the long term outcome of the women and children we work with.

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