The Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas (DVACK) serves as a haven for victims of domestic or sexual violence. Oftentimes, children accompany their non-offending parent to receive DVACK services. In 2018, DVACK served 283 children, equating to 37% of DVACK’s clientele.
Due to a lack of space and resources, however, the organization was unable to provide these children with a safe, secure place to enjoy the outdoors.
“When fleeing from a domestic violence situation, families oftentimes cannot frequent public places in fear of encountering their abuser,” said Andrea Quill, DVACK’s chief executive officer.
Thanks to a recent move and grant funding from the Greater Salina Community Foundation, however, that is no longer the case.
“With the community foundation’s support, DVACK was able to install a safe, recreational playground with four benches and two picnic tables at our newly renovated facility,” said Quill, executive director. “As a result, children residing with their non-abusing parent in DVACK’s safe shelter are able to escape the trauma of past abuse and return to being children again by engaging in age appropriate, healthy outdoor activities and play.”
One child, Anna, had witnessed her mother being abused for years. During this time, Anna was sexually abused. Anna and her mother fled their toxic environment and sought safe shelter at DVACK. During Anna’s stay, she enjoyed playing outside on the new playground, especially the lookout tower and the slide.
“Anna’s mother was thankful her daughter had a safe place to play while she was able to receive crisis counseling, safety planning and other supportive services,” Quill said.
This project provides child victims like Anna with a safe area to exercise and play freely with other children. Child victims have often been immersed in adult situations and assume an adult caretaker and protector role. Because of this new playground, these children will be able to escape the trauma experienced, heal and focus on being a child again.