Earlier this year I was asked to attend a domestic violence forum by The Nappy Collective. I didn’t understand the true depths of what some people go through until I sat in front of Rosie Batty and listened to her story, her courage and determination chilled me to the core. This was in February and at that time 13 women had been killed by domestic violence in Australia. Today the number sits at 78 women.
Here are some sad facts about domestic violence in Australia – the lucky country people say. A safe country to live in but why are these stats so bloody high and heart wrenching:
Today I want to focus Children are present in 1 out of every 3 family violence cases reported to the police. Children need guidance from those adult figures around them and they need encouragement about breaking the silence on situations at home.
Children who are exposed to violence at home between partners are more likely to suffer from mental illness, have learning difficulties and suffer behavioural problems. Breaking the silence is not an easy decision for a child as fear is often the greatest factor.
Here are ways of breaking the silence on domestic violence and protecting our children:
- Often children in this situation believe the violence is somehow their fault. As a result they may fake injuries, avoid social situations like school, feel constantly unwell, refuse to eat or cry often. If you notice a change in behaviour in a child you know, letting them know that no matter what is happening in their life, it is not their fault. Reiterate this again and again that it is not their fault.
- Violence comes in many forms – physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Often people concentrate only on physical violence, whereas neglect and emotional violence are more common towards children. Teaching children that no matter what they do, violence against them is wrong and there is always help out there. make the child feel safe around you.
- Keeping family violence a secret does not make them safe, it only puts them in more danger. Talking with another adult about situations at home is the first step to helping the family get the help they require.
- Teaching children that their body is for them to touch only and unless they ask someone, no one is allowed to touch them. Understanding the difference between safe touching and unsafe touching is important so always trust your gut instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right.
- Keep communication open with children. If a child opens up, keep this line of communications strong while you find help required.
Breaking the silence on domestic violence needs to continue to help stop this epidemic.
Where to get help
- Kids counsellors Tel. 1800 55 1800
- Police Tel. 000
- Child Protection Crisis Line Tel. 131 278 – 24 hrs, 7 days a week
- Trusted family member or friend
- Teacher, school counsellor or trusted adult
- 1800RESPECT – National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service. Tel 1800 737 732 (24 hours, 7 days a week)
Linking up with Essentially Jess for the #IBOTteam