Art as an Intervention in Serving
Secondary Child Victims of Family Violence 2015-2017

Partnering Organization

Lingnan University

Project Period

Previous phase:
August 2015 – July 2016

Current phase:
August 2016 – July 2017


20-30 secondary child victims of family violence additional info, aged 6-11 years


Previous phase:
Tuen Mun Family and Child Protective Services Unit

Current phase:
Tin Shui Wai Family and Child Protective Services Unit

How it works

An inter-professional team of 5 social workers, 1 art therapist and 2 researchers oversee the project, which includes:

  • Two series of 20-session group creativity workshops in a joyful, playful, safe setting.
  • Sessions for parents to understand their children’s developmental needs.
  • Training seminars on art facilitation for social workers


At the end of each series, the children showed improvements in expressiveness, engagement, social interaction and teamwork.

Project sustainability

“Training the trainers” is a core part of the project, for future sustainability. The art therapist train social workers on value of art therapy, and how to implement the activities, so that beyond this programme, they can continue to use art with child victims of family violence.

The children’s artworks


The artworks of these child victims of violence in the previous round showed common themes like traps, killing, death and weapons. Guided by the themes that arise in each child’s art, social workers helped the children work through these negative emotions through games, counselling and sharing.

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    Why Art as an Intervention?

    Children witnessing family violence experience:
    • Stress
    • Fear
    • Confusion
    • Insecurity
    • Cognitive delays
    • Delays in social & emotional growth
    Art therapy helps them:
    • Disclose their inner feelings
    • Develop cognitive skills
    • Express emotions without words
    • Uncover repressed memories
    • Grow in resilience


    “I noticed the child victims are more supportive, encouraging and collaborative of the group.”

    Social worker

    “The images that they made have helped them to visualise and understand their feelings of fear and insecurity.”

    Social worker

    “A few children with ADHD in particular displayed remarkable improvement in controlling their emotional impulses as the programme developed.”

    Social worker