Trauma kit to aid kids
CHRISTMAS is one the worst times of year for family violence, and now parents and workers are being given tools to help traumatised children.
Frontline services are bracing for the tragic flip side of the festive season, with a sharp surge in reports of domestic incidents each year.
Berry St’s family violence service said it experienced a 15 per cent spike in police referrals and calls for help in the days after Christmas.
Sadly, many children were forced to spend Christmas Day in refuges after their mothers fled violence at home.
“We have children in crisis accommodation with their mums, saying ‘Will Santa know where I am? Will he come to me?’,” said family violence senior manager Gayle Correnti.
“What women tell us is when family violence already exists at home, it can escalate over the Christmas period.
“The perpetrator feels entitled to come first and have their needs met, but when the attention turns to the children, like buying presents for them and what-have-you, that shifts their behaviour and things can go wrong.”
She said victims did everything in their power to manage the build-up of stress during the festive period, including fi- nancial pressures, which may trigger an outbreak of violence.
More than 20,000 children witnessed incidents in the last year.
A new kit developed by Berry St and Women’s Health West was launched yesterday by Families and Children Minister Jenny Mikakos, offering updated advice and information for parents and carers.
Women’s Health West chief Dr Robyn Gregory said often the mother-child bond needed to be rebuilt after violence in the home.
Resources can be found at whwest.org.au/choosing-positive-paths or childhoodinstitute.org.au/Resources.