NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Camp HOPE Norfolk offers children resources to overcome traumatic experiences.

The Norfolk Sheriff’s Office provides the week-long camp through a partnership with the Norfolk Family Justice Center. 

20 children were referred to the trauma-informed camp after witnessing or experiencing domestic violence, rape, or incest at a young age.

Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron tells 10 On Your Side this unique camp allows children to know they are not alone.

“They get to bond, they get to talk about their feelings, their anger, their resentments and their fears. The camp is all geared toward helping them overcome those feelings,” Baron explained.

Baron says their goal is to break the cycle of violence.

“Most of the people that we see in our jail, that are abusers, [or] domestic violence offenders, have grown up in an atmosphere of domestic violence.”

To stop this trend, the Sheriff says this group of kids meet monthly and come to the camp every summer. Each year has a different theme, last year was “building dreams.” This year’s theme is “work of art.”

During the day, the kids enjoy Camp Silver Beach activities, then they meet by the campfire to work on healing.

“We try to teach them to find hope and reliance within themselves,” said Lieutenant Meryah Breeden, the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office community liaison.

The children share stories of survivors and offer rewards for progress. Camp HOPE Norfolk is for kids 8 to 12 years old. When they reach 13 years old, they are invited to become mentors and summer counselors.

“They are learning, they are participating, then they can then teach! That is how it gets ingrained in them. That really is how the cycle is broken.”

Next year, Camp HOPE will expand to 35 campers.

If you or you know someone who may be a victim of domestic violence or child abuse, click here for a list of local and national resources.