Published: October, 2011| Donna Williamson, Edited by Stephanie Avalon

KIDshine shines as an example of advocacy initiated response to children who witness domestic violence. Shine (Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday) has been providing advocacy to abused women and their children for many years.

Since 2002, KIDshine has added followup contacts with abused mothers and their children in Auckland through in-home visitation to address safety planning, trauma, and recovery.

Formerly called The Child Crisis Intervention Project (CCIP), KIDShine involves the provision of a short term crisis intervention service for children who have witnessed violence in their own homes. KIDShine seeks to:

  • Increase child safety.
  • Improve parenting skills.
  • Interrupt the cycle of violence.
  • Increase awareness of the impact of violence on child and parent wellbeing.
  • Rebuild the relationship between the mother and her child/children, which is always affected when there has been domestic violence in the environment.

KIDshine is a program of Shine – NZ’s largest domestic abuse advocacy organization, established in 1990. In its early years as an Auckland domestic violence intervention agency, Shine drew on its philosophy from Duluth’s Domestic Abuse Intervention Project and the similar Hamilton (NZ) Abuse Intervention Project. (BWJP’s Graham Barnes formerly worked with both SHINE and HAIP in several capacities.) The core practice of having advocates contact women following their partners’ arrest for a domestic abuse-related charge originated with Duluth’s DAIP.

Shine’s Executive Director, Jane Drumm, incorporated the additional response to children modeled after a similar program in the UK.

Since 1990, Shine has grown into a national organization that provides a range of domestic abuse related services. However, Shine has continued to provide frontline advocacy services for victims of domestic abuse which are focused in Auckland. Auckland is the largest, most diverse city in New Zealand, with 1.3 million people, situated in the north of the North Island.

Shine’s Mission: Doing What Works to Stop Domestic Abuse

How we accomplish our mission:
  • Support victims to be safe and perpetrators to change
  • Learn from our clients, research and others
  • Act to implement change
  • Reflect on our experience and develop our practice
  • Share what we learn with others

As in the United States, family violence in New Zealand is a major public health and criminal justice issue. For many abused women, concern for their children figures heavily in their decision to remain with an abusive partner. Without the ability to support themselves and their children financially, the fear that they may be homeless or have to accept substandard accommodation, and be unable to provide adequate food and clothing for their children, is realistic.

In addition, they are frequently trapped in the abusive relationship by a whole range of other contributing factors, such as lack of knowledge of their legal rights, fear of Court procedures, injury or chronic poor health etc. For these reasons, it is important that abused families receive support and information as soon as possible and that it is free.

KIDshine is provided to families throughout Auckland City, as there is nothing similar in the region (or elsewhere in the country). Shine has a formal protocol with the Auckland police, which ensures that Shine is contacted every time an arrest is made for a domestic violence related offence. Shine advocates respond immediately to notifications of an arrest and visit the victim in her home, at hospital or in another safe place, to provide support and information. Most of the KIDshine referrals are received from Shine advocates following a police report. Referrals are also received from ADHB, CYF, Schools, Public Health Nurses, and other agencies

By implementing an intervention strategy that prioritizes child safety, Shine believes they have a very real chance at protecting children and interrupting the intergenerational cycle of violence from occurring.

How Effective is KIDshine?

An Evaluation of KIDshine (the Child Crisis Team) was conducted between June and November 2003 by the Injury Prevention Research Centre. All mothers commented on positive changes in children’s physical health and emotional behavior, both at home and school, and evidence demonstrated that all mothers considered that KIDshine had increased their awareness of the impact of domestic violence on their children’s health and wellbeing.

KIDshine has made their forms and protocols available on this website.

For more information, please contact:

Donna Williamson, Child Advocate and Child Crisis Team Coordinator, DonnaW@2shine.org.nz.