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Safe from the Start

In Tasmania, The Salvation Army has developed Safe from the Start, an innovative project to work with children who have witnessed family violence using activity-based play.

In partnership with two universities, The Salvation Army conducted research that demonstrated children exposed to violence in early years can suffer severe effects on brain development and may be predisposed to developing addiction or adopting violent behaviour later in life.

Out of this research, The Salvation Army developed a training program and resource kit. Nationally over 1,000 people — including family and domestic violence workers, child protection workers, counsellors and child carers — have participated in training, and over 800 resource kits have been distributed within Australia and internationally.

For more information on the project or to order resources visit salvationarmy.org.au/safefromthestart.

“It’s not only seeing violence that can affect children — it’s hearing it as well. Our mission is to improve the lives of children who have been hurt through the behaviour of their parents,” says Nell Kuilenburg, Research and Development Manager.

This year Safe from the Start:

  • produced four children’s books to help children share their feelings;
  • received a Tasmania Community Fund grant to conduct a research study: Men who use Violence and Educating how their Violence Impacts on their Children. The report will address how programmes can educate men who use violence, inform government policy, and develop a training module for men’s Change Abusive Behaviour Programmes within Australia; and
  • conducted research in Tasmania to address family and domestic violence within Aboriginal communities.