Trauma kit to aid kids

Herald Sun - - NEWS - ELISSA DO­HERTY elissa.do­herty@news.com.au

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.

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