New picture book Hope launches to help children affected by family violence
A new children’s picture book, Hope, will be launched in Melbourne today, with the intention of helping children who have lived with family violence to build resilience and work toward recovery.
The core messages in Hope are that children are not to blame, and are not alone.
Developed with the assistance of not-for-profit organisations EDVOS and Anglicare Victoria, Hope was written by author, educator and advocate Jayneen Sanders, co-founder of Educate2Empower Publishing.
The story aims to help children voice their concerns and fears with adults they trust such as a family member, teacher, carer or the police, and to support adults to provide a safe and supportive response when children share their experiences of family violence.
“There are many vulnerable children in our communities who are living in domestic violence homes who feel powerless, scared and unsafe,” Ms Sanders said. “So I wrote this book for them, to give them hope that things might change in time and for them to realise that their situation is not their fault.”
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said family violence incidents in the home sadly reached an all-time high in Victoria during COVID-19, making resources such as Hope incredibly important for children and young people who are experiencing these events.
“Every day Anglicare Victoria staff work with families who have been profoundly affected by family violence,” he explained.
The message in Hope is that circumstances can change, and that children are never to blame. The accountability always lies with the person choosing to use violence, and that’s where change needs to start.”
Christine Mathieson, EDVOS CEO, said almost half the family violence referrals to her organisation in Melbourne’s east metropolitan region involve children.
“More than two-thirds of mothers have children in their care when they experience violence from their previous or current partners. Children are not just passive witnesses or secondary victims. They need to be recognised and supported as victim survivors of family violence in their own rights,” Ms Mathieson said.
“It is important that children are at the forefront of our vision and that we provide opportunities for support and look for ways to instil hope, when it may be lost. We must remember that many children and young people display incredible resilience, therefore we need to recognise their strength and respect each child’s experience and stories as they provide the most critical learning for us.”
Readers wishing to access more information, or to purchase a copy of Hope are invited to visit the Level Playground website.