A positive path for caring for children affected by family violence

10 December 2015

Today the Hon Jenny Mikakos MP, Minister for Families and Children launched the new Choosing Positive Paths parenting kit, a resource designed to improve the lives of children affected by family violence.

A joint initiative of Women’s Health West and Berry Street, the resource kit is designed for mothers, other protective parents and/or carers caring for infants, toddlers, primary school children and teenagers who have experienced family violence.

Australian statistics highlight that three quarters of women who experience family violence are mothers or carers for children. Almost half said their children had seen or heard the violence. In 2013-14 Victoria Police reported that 22,445 children were present at 35 per cent of family violence incidents in Victoria alone.

According to Women’s Health West Chief Executive Officer Dr Robyn Gregory, the original version of Choosing Positive Paths was first developed in 2003, but tragically the information in the kit is as important now, as it was then.

“For children, experiencing family violence means knowing about, seeing or hearing violence in their home,” Dr Gregory said.

“The mother-child bond is frequently undermined when violence exists in the home. The Choosing Positive Paths resource recognises this, and provides ideas about how to rebuild and strengthen these essential bonds with children, and aid their recovery from traumatic situations.”

The Choosing Positive Paths resource kit includes 10 facts sheets that contain information on pregnancy, safety and children’s behaviour, including tips and hints on how mothers can reconnect and communicate with their children about safety, changes in their family, intervention orders or court.

Information in the fact sheets is also responding to recent changes in legislation, policy and practice and the increasing exposure of our children to family violence. The Sentencing Advisory Council statistics have shown that the number of protected children included on family violence intervention orders increased by more than 295.4 per cent between 2004-05 and 2011-12.

All the Choosing Positive Paths fact sheets are designed for and by specialist family violence practitioners including mother/child counsellors.

“We want these resources to get to as many parents as possible, as well as being useful for professionals who work with families,” Berry Street Chief Executive Officer Sandie de Wolf AM said.

The resources can be downloaded or purchased online at:

Women’s Health West: www.whwest.org.au/choosing-positive-paths
Berry Street: www.childhoodinstitute.org.au/Resources


For more information please contact:

Christine Crosby, Women’s Health West: email christine@whwest.org.au phone 9689 9588
Sue Coffey, Berry Street: email scoffey@berrystreet.org.au   phone: 9421 7562

Choosing Positive Paths is a joint initiative of Women’s Health West and Berry Street
Women’s Health West and Berry Street acknowledge the support of the Victorian Government