Family violence: learning to spot the signs

July 29, 2016
family violence training
Family violence carers and teacher receive training on how to spot the signs

Family violence: Child care workers in Victoria are being trained to help identify and prevent family violence, with experts saying educators are increasingly on the front line when it comes to tackling the abuse.

More than 100 early child care professionals attended a training day in Melbourne in the first of its kind in the state, as reported by Jessica Longbottom.

Emily Maguire, CEO of the Domestic Violence Resource Centre, said it was common for early childhood educators to be the first to recognise when violence was occurring in the home.

“They will notice a behaviour that’s a little bit off, a little bit out of character, and they will want to talk to the mother about what’s going on,” Ms Maguire said.

“But they might not necessarily have the skills or the comfort level to be able to have that conversation because it’s a tricky conversation to have.”

Linda Davison, co-ordinator of Clarendon Children’s Centre in South Melbourne, said she had seen several cases of domestic violence during her more than 40 years in the sector.

She said in one case, at the start of her career, she did not know how to respond.

“The parent was not divulging, there was a story that came with the black eye she presented with.”

Domestic violence survivor Kristy McKellar said her daughter’s child care centre was integral in supporting her after she left an abusive relationship

She said they set up extra safety protocols, and also ensured male carers did not come into contact with her daughter because they made her daughter fearful.

“They went out of their way to put practical measures in place so I knew that if she was triggered or feeling anxious that they were able to deal with that,” she said.

However she said that while the child care workers did their best to help, they were lacking formal education on the issue.

“It’s about us stepping up and providing them with the correct tools and education to feel confident in understanding the complexities that surround family violence,” Ms McKellar said.

Family violence and domestic violence

Research showed more than half of women who are the subject of domestic violence have children in their care.

Domestic violence experts said early child care educators can also play a role in preventing family violence, by role modelling respectful relationships and teaching gender equity. To read more click here.

The 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference; Providing the Skills for Change will be held on 5 – 7 December at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane.

With an improved focus and awareness on the effect of Domestic and Family Violence within Australia, the Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association is providing a national unified platform to discuss the strain of Domestic Violence on Australian resources and facilities. Registrations are now open. To register for the Conference CLICK HERE.

Authors or organisations interested in presenting at the 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference are invited to submit an abstract. To submit an abstract CLICK HERE. Abstracts close 22nd August 2016.

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