Hanna’s Story: The Ripple Effects of Abuse

By Candace Stretch

The ripple effects of living with a violent partner are vast for women. Experiencing violence and abuse on a daily basis can lead women into drug and alcohol dependencies, cause mental health struggles, and contribute to financial challenges. These ripple effects continue for women with children, as they face the challenge of raising their children in such difficult circumstances. This can lead to Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD) involvement, and sometimes even removal of children from the family home.

When Hanna moved into Cridge housing and began to access the support of the Dovetail Program, she had been through years of abuse and had used alcohol to cope. Even though the abuser was no longer in her life, Hanna was still struggling through the pain of addiction. This addiction led to MCFD removing her son, and placing him in foster care. Hanna was heartbroken- she had finally found safety for herself and her son, only to have him taken away.

With the support of her Dovetail worker, Hanna entered alcohol treatment. She returned from treatment with a deep commitment to maintaining her sobriety, and a strong desire to work toward getting her son back. Hanna set up regular meetings with her social worker and did everything she could to demonstrate that she was prepared to be a full-time parent again.

Gradually Hanna was given longer and longer visits with her son. Having to go through the heartbreak of saying goodbye after each visit was a huge test of her sobriety. Yet each time she felt the urge to drink, she sought the help of her Dovetail worker and her addiction support network. Through her patience, perseverance and her enormous love for her child, Hanna showed her MCFD social worker that she was prepared to be a full-time parent again.

Hanna was finally able to see the last ripple effect of pain fade away- she was reunited with her son in early 2017 and is now living with him in our Cridge housing. And, just this past month, she celebrated 1 year of sobriety!

Please note: names and identifying details were altered to protect confidentiality