The Salvation Army ‘Safe from the Start’ project in Tasmania has launched two new children’s books to raise awareness of the trauma experienced by children exposed to domestic violence. The two books ‘When Daddy Hits the Table’ and ‘When Mummy Shouts’ were written by teacher Mary Koolhof and Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder, Aunty Eva Richardson along with well-known children’s illustrator, Janet Fenton.
The two books were written as a pair to acknowledge that both parents can display angry behaviour. The stories are about children hearing or seeing violence in the home and how it helps talking to their teachers, grandparents or other family members. The book will provide both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children a story with a strong message about feeling safe, having friends to share feelings with and a safe place to stay.
“This delightful story book gently and beautifully illustrates that sharing feelings with a teacher or family member when you feel scared or being able to sleep over at a friend’s house, can make you feel safe again,” said Nell Kuilenburg, Development & Research Manager for The Salvation Army.
The books were written to engage with children. The stories and pictures encourage children to ask questions and deal with issues surrounding violence, grief or loss.
“Our motto is that a child who lives with violence is changed forever, but not forever damaged and there is a lot we can do to improve their future prospects,” said Ms Kuilenburg.
Funded by the Tasmanian Community Fund this book will be promoted within Tasmanian children’s and family violence services and also be distributed to Child and Family Centres, Neighbourhood Houses, school libraries, children’s programs and family violence refuges.
In Tasmania in a 12 month period, police attended to 2,509 of family violence incidents under the Family Violence Act. Tasmanian statistics indicate that children are present in 40 per cent of incidents attended by police.
The books were written specifically for the Safe from the Start project which has won a number of awards including the National Crime & Violence Prevention Award, Tasmanian Child Protection Award and Tas NAPCAN Award.
The Safe from the Start project aims to raise awareness that children who are exposed to violence are traumatised and need to be listened to by a caring adult. The project educates parents, teachers and the wider community that children who witness family or domestic violence are affected and need to tell someone about it.
Books can be ordered via www.salvationarmy.org.au/safefromthestart