My new home
This week we are pleased to share the third of Sally Goldstraw’s videos exploring children’s voices within domestic violence.
In some situations children must leave the home with their mother in order to be safe. Leaving the relationship is the most dangerous time for women and children. Approximately 1 woman is murdered every week in Australia by her intimate partner or ex-partner. Women and children are also at risk of homelessness, poverty and social isolation when they leave the relationship. This coupled with a lack of self esteem makes it very difficult for women to leave without the support and planning of specialist family violence services.
In some instances the woman is able to stay in her home but there are cases where they must leave and go to refuge in order to be safe. In extreme cases some women need to leave their community or State. The impact of this on children is significant. Not only are they facing family separation, but possibly homelessness, change of schools and friendship groups, loss of family pets due to accommodation changes as well as the impacts of traumatic events that may have been occurring over a number of years.
While children find these adjustments hard they also recognise that it is important to feel safe from harm. They show great relief when they are no longer frightened. They often display behavioural problems, social withdrawal, and an inability to learn and develop normally when the violence is actively occurring. Safety and counselling help mitigate these impacts so that they catch up with the development of their peers. Counselling and support is imperative for mothers and caregivers when they too are safe. This can assist in the repair of the mother-child relationship which is a significant protective feature for all children.
As an art therapist working in family violence, Sally has recently worked with Silverpod Productions, a small company who focus on social advocacy and awareness raising campaigns, in collaboration with WRISC family violence support and Ballarat Aboriginal Co-op. These videos are part of a wider video campaign project called ‘Break the Cycle’ produced by Silverpod Productions and supported by the Indigenous Family Violence Strategy Community Initiatives Fund.
If anyone requires support and assistance around family violence you can contact:
1800 RESPECT (Women): 1800 732 732
Mens helpline: 1800 000 599/9223 1199
Childrens helpline: 1800 55 1800