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Domestic violence a vicious cycle, says WAO

 | August 5, 2015

Statistics show that domestic violence begins in childhood and carries through to adulthood.

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PETALING JAYA: Statistics from the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) suggests that domestic violence may be a vicious cycle that begins in childhood.

In an exclusive interview with FMT, WAO executive director Sumitra Visvanathan said the women who came to the shelter either experienced violence as children or their abuser had.

“When women come to our shelter we ask a few questions. One of the questions we ask is did you face abuse, or discrimination, or violence in your home as a child? Did your husband face abuse in his home as a child? They do,” she said.

Recognising the pattern, WAO has partnered with Life Line Association Malaysia to provide play therapy for children who come to the shelter and those who live in WAO’s childcare centre.

“Play therapy, or therapeutic play (technical term), uses the medium of playing to help a child bring out the emotions they are having as a survivor of violence, to confront those fears and emotions and anger in a safe space with toys and then address it, and it’s very useful in helping them break the cycle of violence,” she said.

She added that the next step was to show the child that there were other ways to live outside the violence that they had become accustomed to.

“Doing that is very important in trying to break the cycle of violence because we know from our own clients that violence in childhood leads to violence in adulthood.”

Domestic violence is a criminal offence under the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act 2012. If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the WAO hotline at 03-7956-3488. All information shared is confidential.


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