Children who have experienced family violence now have the opportunity to recover through art thanks to a Commonwealth Bank grant that Women’s Health West received to run Little Picassos – art workshops for creative kids. The therapeutic group will support children aged 5-12 to create art and talk to counsellors about ongoing problems at home or school.
Women’s Health West, a specialist family violence organisation, is enormously grateful to the Commonwealth Bank for these funds. Our two part time children’s counsellors are the only specialist counsellors in the western suburbs who can provide a free service for children suffering trauma following family violence.
‘According to Victoria Police children were present at 2,502 family violence incidents in 2011-12 but during this period WHW was funded to see only 95 children,’ said Sally, WHW Children’s Counsellor.
Ruby Roo the Kangaroo is one of our children’s counsellors and she has a regular section just for kids in our newsletter, whw news!
Ruby has a new friend called Gruffalo who likes working with children who feel grumpy and cross. Gruffalo knows that children who have gone through family violence sometimes experience strong feelings and talks to children about ways to manage tricky feelings. Ruby has been very busy trying to train Gruffalo to smile and stop being stuck in grumpy feelings.
Historically women’s family violence outreach services have been funded to provide case management support to women and child protection services have focused on protecting children. This model tended to ignore the reality that assaults against children largely occur in the context of family violence, where women have limited ability to protect their children. Increasingly, children’s rights advocates stress the need for children to have individualised case management services complemented by services that strengthen women’s ability to protect their children.
While WHW are not funded to provide case management support to children, we do include children within a family case plan, including work with schools, supporting children to access counselling services and liaising with child protection. However, we were keen to explore how we could enhance our focus on children.
In a 6 month pilot program WHW employed a children’s case worker for 3 days a week to tackle areas of concern specific to children, including the negative consequences of family violence on the mother-child bond. While other case workers benefited from this pilot it is clear that an ongoing specialist children’s worker would be invaluable.
Article printed on 23 October 2012 in Maribyrnong Weekly
THE task of reducing family violence in Melbourne’s west has received the welcome boost of a $600,000 state government grant.
Women’s Health West (WHW) will use the funding to roll out a United: Working Together to Prevent Violence Against Women in the West program to tackle factors causing men to commit violence against women.
The program will build on partnerships with local government, ISIS Primary Care, Djerriwarrh Community Health Service, Western Region Health Centre, and Doutta Galla Community Health Service.
16 October 2012 | Star Williamstown, Altona, Laverton
Women’s Health West CEO welcomed a new State Government plan to tackle family violence. Last week Premier Ted Baillieu launched the $7.9 million plan to address domestic violence against women and children. Mr Baillieu said the proposal would raise community awareness to change attitudes and behaviours which have allowed such violence to occur.