A new resource from The Australian National University (ANU) dispels myths about how children are affected by domestic and family violence, and aims to help people who work with children to provide the best support.
The Stepping Up for Kids booklet is aimed at teachers, child care workers, health workers and any adults who work with children and young people. It will help adults identify signs of a problem at home.
Nicola Palfrey, Director of the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network at ANU, said common myths about the impacts of family violence on children hamper efforts to identify and support them.
“Children who are exposed to family and domestic violence often experience physical and psychological trauma which can have compounding effects later in life,” Ms Palfrey said.
“Unfortunately, many people think that if a child is very young, or doesn’t directly see an act of violence, they aren’t affected by it.
“But it is crucial that these children are identified so they can receive appropriate help, support and where appropriate, treatment.
“It is also just as important for adults who work and interact with children to identify the signs of domestic and family violence, and to know how to respond.”
Latest figures show almost one in four women who have been married or in a de-facto relationship have experienced physical violence from a male partner. Children can be affected even if they are not the direct victims of violence.
“Children who have been exposed to violence often slip under the radar,” Ms Palfrey said.
“All adults who work with children have an obligation to report suspected child abuse, but it can be a difficult and awkward process.
“But with the right responses and the right support, a lot can be done to improve the situation for children and their families.”
The Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Health. The booklet was developed with the assistance of funding from Foundation of Graduates in Early Childhood Studies.