Life in Balance

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COPA: The Case for More Childhood Trauma Prevention

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Reposted from the COPA Blog



Childhood trauma, abuse, violence can have a lifelong impact on those who experience it. These effects may also be experienced by entire groups of people and contribute to creating a legacy of abuse for particular societal groups such as Aboriginal children, children living in families with long histories of poverty as just two examples.

According to a 2003 study from the University of Western Ontario about the economic costs of child abuse in Canada, a conservative estimate of annual costs associated with judicial, social services, educational, health, employment and personal costs totalled more than $16 billion[i] – $4 billion more than what Canada spent in 2009/10 on children’s benefits![ii]

There are also huge numbers of children who do not receive any or inadequate support for child abuse and violence. Unrecognized, untreated, unsupported traumatized children can become adults who continue to live out the legacy of trauma through physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual repercussions.  In addition to these costs are the “intangible losses” of pain, sorrow, and reduced quality of life to survivors and their families.

As compelling as the case for child abuse and trauma prevention is from an economic viewpoint, the critical nature of prevention work such as that of COPA’s is that much greater when we consider what society loses out in greater creativity, wisdom, productivity, well-being and joy that could be shared had these children not experienced such trauma, or at the very least been offered substantial and broad support to survive and thrive after trauma.

Can we imagine the abundance of well-being, joy, peace, loving actions and contributions? Can we picture cycles of ever-increasing generosity and love, instead of the all too familiar damaging cycles of violence and alienation?

Here are some comments from children who received COPA programming who make the case:

…I can help stand up for my rights now. I know a lot more, and feel good.

… I am feeling much more confident in myself and my choices.

… I feel less worried about being myself, now that the other students have gotten this training.

… I learned about healthy relationships and ideas on how to deal with jealousy.

… I can see that everybody is a somebody.

… It is important that we learn about our rights at a young age because freedom and safety are very important in our lives.

… We discussed how understanding that everyone is different and deserves to be treated equally.

… You let us talk about experiences and what we could do to change the situation for the better.

… I realize now what we are capable of.

… Now I feel good about myself.

Let us imagine that world together by doing all that we can to PREVENT (and intervene effectively at the earliest stages of) traumatic child experiences to ensure that each and every child blossoms, thrives and shines in the fullest way possible. Each and every child, all children, deserve this – and our world deserves and needs their beauty.

To take steps to foster an abundance of wellbeing and joy and to organize COPA’s violence prevention programs contact us at and click here.

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