Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It marks the beginning of the United Nations Women 16 Days of Activism, a global campaign to galvanise action to end violence against women and children.
Save the Children has been running domestic violence refuges in Australia for more than 30 years and is committed to supporting women and their children who are fleeing domestic or family violence.
According to family and gendered violence awareness network, Our Watch, one in six Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence from a current or former partner. Children who experience or witness this violence are directly impacted.
Save the Children runs five refuges in Queensland, which provide confidential and secure transitional housing for women and their children, and two domestic and family violence mobile support services across Southern Queensland.
The refuges offer services on child learning and development to reduce the adverse impact of family violence on children’s development and education trajectory.
“All of our facilities support the needs of children as well as those of mothers, so we have a lot of designated spaces for children to play and learn. We also have a designated child support worker at each refuge to provide specialised case management services for children to meet the needs to the family as a whole,” said Victoria Kennedy, a Parent Child Support Worker at a Save the Children refuge in Queensland.
Kylie, a victim of domestic and family violence, said staying in a Save the Children refuge allowed her and her son the chance to rebuild their lives.
“Being in refuge gave me the chance to decide ‘where to next?’. The staff were so supportive. If I needed to go to court, they were there to go with me. If I just needed somebody to talk to about what was going on, they were there to listen,” Kylie said.
“It has been hard for my son. Even though he didn’t see a lot of it, he still overheard. And his behaviours are something that were really concerning for me. He has come a long way. Now he’s not angry, he doesn’t wet the bed as much, he doesn’t have the nightmares that he used to.”
Save the Children’s Everyday Positive Play program provides training to other refuges in establishing child friendly spaces and delivering child-specific support to families that access refuges.
Over the past decade, governments and communities have taken steps to increase funding, deliver services and promote attitudinal change to address the domestic and family violence crisis in Australia.
Building on our programming expertise and recommendations of the Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence, Save the Children is now calling for a greater national focus on the interests of children.
improved national collection of data about children’s experiences of domestic and family violence
expanding and resourcing child-centred and trauma informed services for children who experience domestic and family violence; and
increased preventative education programs to address root causes of domestic and family violence.
Save the Children has partnered with organisations in Gippsland, Victoria, to increase its focus on family violence prevention activities and to promote children’s rights.
To mark the global 16 Days of Activism campaign, Save the Children is supporting the event “Walk to Change the Story” in Bairnsdale. The community walk will be held on Wednesday November 28 to advocate for an end to violence against women and children, and will include a free barbeque, guest speakers, children’s activities and competitions.
***If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency call 000***
For more details call Alex Sampson on 0429 943 027