Children Who Witness Abuse program name change

The BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH) is happy to announce that the new name for the Children Who Witness Abuse (CWWA) program is:

The Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment (PEACE) Program for Children and Youth Experiencing Violence

For almost 10 years, renaming the CWWA Program to better reflect its work has been discussed in conference calls, trainings, and at CWWA in-person meetings. CWWA service agencies raised concerns as to whether the program name reflects the current work of the anti-violence workers and how the title could better describe the services and be inclusive of children and youth who access the program.

While change can be difficult, and the CWWA name has served the Program and its participants well, the feeling was that the CWWA Program must adapt to evolving social and political environments and discourses. As such, CWWA counsellors, BCSTH, and Ministry of Solicitor General (MPSSG) collaborated to explore the suitability of the Children Who Witness Abuse as the Program name.

In March 2016, BCSTH canvassed CWWA service agencies via an online survey to better understand and hear concerns regarding the name. Of the 76 responses received, 75.8% of CWWA Programs wanted to see the name changed. In May 2017, BCSTH invited CWWA Programs to complete an online survey asking CWWA counsellors for name change suggestions. BCSTH shortlisted several name suggestions and provided the 86 CWWA Programs with an opportunity to vote on a new name, with one vote per agency. In September of 2017, 71 out of 86 CWWA selected a new name for their venerable program and 73 % selected the PEACE Program as the new name for their venerable program.

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Children Who Witness Abuse Program. The CWWA Program grew out of concern identified by the front line workers for the children of women who were accessing transition houses. In 1992, the then B.C./Yukon Society of Transition Houses responded to a need voiced by Transition House workers for supportive psycho-educational counselling for children and youth exposed to violence in the home. In 1992 the Society obtained funding from the Vancouver Foundation and the United Way of Greater Vancouver to research the impact of children’s exposure to the abuse of their mothers, and to develop a program to support children and youth exposed to violence against women.

41 CWWA programs were piloted across BC with funding from the Ministry of Social Services. Today there are 90 CWWA programs operating in 86 Agencies throughout BC with funding from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (MPSSG). The CWWA program is unique to BC and continues to be the only provincial and territorial children and youth experiencing violence programs in Canada.

BCSTH will be using the new name and beautiful new logo on its future resources, the BCSTH website and the updated PEACE Program Toolkit which we are finalizing.

Many thanks to all the programs that participated in this consultation and collaboration and we hope that this new name will serve you well in the important work that you do everyday to support women, children and youth across BC.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.


Joanne Baker, Executive Director
Amy S. FitzGerald, Director of Training & Programs
Rhiannon Wong, Child & Youth Services Coordinator
Sonia Bhatia, Child & Youth Services Coordinator

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