Shocking report released today highlights how family violence impacts young people.
Tasmania’s Commissioner for Children and Young People Mark Morrissey today released his report which focused on how family violence impacts young people, reports ABC news.
“Children aren’t mere hapless witnesses to family violence, they have their own … very profound experiences,” he said.
“I believe we need to respond to each and every child according to their unique situation.”
The findings place importance on recognising the trauma children experience from family violence, the need for integrated service responses, more support and training for health service workers and increased crisis accommodation.
The report’s findings included:
•A child’s experience of family violence is greatly dependent on their individual circumstances and personal traits, and no one child is affected uniformly.
•The effects of family violence on children and young people can have a detrimental effect on their development, as well as their physical and mental wellbeing.
•Children and young people do not have to directly witness or be subjected to family violence in order to be affected. As victims in their own right, children and young people should be supported to recognise and disclose violence, seek assistance, and heal from trauma.
•There may be value in developing and providing further information, education and communication materials to parents and service providers on understanding the effect of family violence on children and young people.
The report said many children and young people who had experienced family violence “display high levels of self-efficacy and resilience” and “it should not be assumed that their potential to succeed is lessened compared to those who haven’t experienced family violence or that they will grow up to be perpetrators themselves”.
The report also found an ongoing “secure attachment” a child’s primary caregiver — which authors said was usually the mother — had been identified as a “protective factor” for children exposed to family violence.
“Daddy might break in and push the door down and run in and get mummy and pull out a gun and shoot her and I can’t help,” a seven year-old child is quoted as saying in the report.
“I sit on mummy’s knee so daddy would not hit mummy,” an eight year-old child said.
The report said there could be “no real appreciation or understanding of what is in a child’s or young person’s best interests” without according them the right to be heard and to have a say on matters that affect them.
“Crucial to children’s ability to cope with family violence and its effects on them are being listened to and taken seriously as participants in the situation, and being actively involved in finding solutions and in decision-making.”
Police figures show 1,256 children were present at family violence incidents in 2014, increasing to 1,757 in 2016.
So far today police in Australia would have dealt with on average 584 domestic violence matters.
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