Crisis Centre grant goes far

Hedge Funds Care’s Cayman Committee
of Hearts recently awarded the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre a $35,000 grant to
assist with the centre’s child and youth programme and after-care programme.

The centre, with a full-time staff
of six, also provides a 24-hour toll-free crisis line and engages in public
education about domestic abuse and sexual assault.

The funds for the crisis centre
were a renewal grant for the centre which received close to $46,000 in 2008.

“In part the funding has been used
to create and support my post which works directly with the children who
accompany their mothers to the centre,” said Children and Youth Programme Case
Manager Charmaine Bush-Miller.

Ms Bush-Miller, who has a
bachelor’s degree in psychology, served as an intern at the centre in 2004 and
has worked at the Crisis Centre since July 2009.

“Prior to creating the Children and
Youth Programme, 100 per cent of our efforts were focused on the mothers.
Children who live in homes where domestic abuse occurs more than likely have
witnessed their father hurting their mother or have heard the loud angry voices
and fearful screams that accompanies abuse. 
As a result, when the children come to shelter they are often confused,
angry, and, or frightened,” she said.

“Now, with the Children and Youth
Programme, there is a staff member designated and trained to work directly with
the children to help them understand why they are at the Centre and teach them
to deal with their feelings surrounding the abuse.”

Since the Children and Youth
Programme’s inception in August 2009, the centre has served 25 children and has
since been expanded to youth up to the age of sixteen. 

The programme also helps children
deal with the challenges that face them academically, and to change behaviour
copied from what they have witnessed.

“The most rewarding part of my role
is the positive outcome we see when intervening to break a pattern of unhealthy
behaviour, which most of the time stems from witnessing domestic violence,” said
Ms Bush-Miller.

“The changing process is satisfying
because we are able to distinguish between a child who initially enters the
shelter with mixed emotions, questioning their self value and demonstrating
much aggression towards their peers and relatives, to a child expressing
eagerness to participate in group sessions, articulating their wants and needs
assertively and improving their self as a whole.  The physical ailments of domestic violence
are always eye opening and making the smallest difference is hugely rewarding.”

The programme also provides support
to parents who often have to adjust to having a lack of funds after leaving
their marital home, and costs include bilingual materials as English is not the
first language of the majority of clients.

The Hedge Funds Care grant also
supports the Crisis Centre’s after-care Programme. Under the direction of
long-time staff member Lorna Medina, it provides follow-up and assistance for
women and their children when they leave the safe shelter.

The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre is
open to all victims who have made contact via phone, who do not have a child
over 16 years of age or any pets that they would need to bring with them.  The crisis centre is now hoping to expand its
children’s playroom and to pave and landscape their front garden area.

Hedge Funds Care, since its
inception, has distributed more than $21 million through more than 600 grants.

The charitable organisation, whose
local members include Ogier, Appleby, Butterfield Bank, CIBC, Citco, Deloitte,
dms Management, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Maples and Calder, PWC, Rawlinson and
Hunter, UBS and Walkers, is focused on assisting young victims of abuse.