New specialist support helping children of domestic violence survivors
The children of domestic violence survivors are now receiving dedicated, specialist support of their own — in addition to support services provided to their mum — under a new program designed to address the unique needs of young children and adolescents.
The ‘Safe and Well Kids’ program, funded with $1.5 million, was established in recognition of the significant number of women presenting for DV support with accompanying children.
A team of experts are providing “wrap around” support to children and adolescents who have experienced domestic and family violence, including child-focused case managers, Aboriginal family workers and social workers.
In its first three months, Safe and Well Kids has already supported 15 families and is set to help up to 150 families over the next year.
Whilst frontline domestic violence services are focussed on the needs of at-risk women, this program provides support to vulnerable children and adolescents that are exposed to emotional, mental and physical harm as a result of experiencing violence and abuse in the family home.
Women and their children are referred to the program by Women’s Safety Services SA (WSSSA) case managers, with the program soon set to expand and open up to more direct referrals from the DV Crisis Line and crisis accommodation clients.
The program provides practical help for women that are recovering from domestic violence, including access to therapeutic programs appropriate for children, legal advice and support to enrol children in early childhood education where able to learn and socialise.
Safe and Well Kids is delivered by WSSSA together with the Legal Services Commission of South Australia and Relationships Australia (SA).
In its first three months of operation, Safe and Well Kids has supported children who:
- were aged 1 to 5 years (50%)
- were aged 6 to 12 years (42.5%)
- identified as Aboriginal (47.5%)
- were from a culturally and linguistically diverse background (15%).