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Do you know who to contact when you need someone to support you, an advocate, to listen when you need to be heard.

Download this document for a list of services that are there for you when you need them

Advocacy Support List

 

Setting routines

Use routines to help kids to feel more settled as they head back to school. Things like packing school bags before bed, or getting uniforms ready the night before can help your kids feel ready for the day ahead.

Tips for starting Kinder or School

Starting kinder or moving from kinder to primary school is a big step! You can help your kids get ready to make the transition by talking about and practicing some of the new things they will do. To help parents and guardians to get ready for these milestones, we've put together these handy tip sheets:

Mindfulness Activities

It’s normal for kids to feel a little bit nervous after so many disruptions to their learning. Use simple mindfulness activities to help them focus and feel more positive about heading back to school.

Education Supports

Support is always available if your child is struggling with returning to school. You can speak to their school’s support officer about extra assistance while they adjust. 

Find out more about the different supports available for parents, carers and children with our handy information sheets:

 

Family violence exists in many different forms – it can be displayed as physical, emotional, sexual, cultural, psychological or economic abuse. 

While family violence disproportionately affects Aboriginal families, it is important to understand that family violence is not part of indigenous culture. 

Speak up for safe families 

Starting meaningful conversations about family violence is how we create change in our communities - it is up to all of us to come together to call out violence and abuse. 

These videos show examples of family violence that you or someone you know may have seen or experienced in your family or community.

Our #SafeKoorieFamilies campaign has been developed to promote conversations in Community about everyday examples of family violence. Use these videos and downloadable resources to start conversations in classrooms, group sessions, and community forums about the effect violence has on children, young people and families.

Recognising Unhealthy Relationships  

Everyone has a right to feel safe in their personal relationships. To understand what a healthy and respectful relationship looks like, we need to be able to identify patterns of behaviour that are harmful or abusive. Being able to recognise the early signs of family violence helps us know when to seek support, or when to offer assistance to people who are at risk. 

Resource: Examples of different types of family violence

Where to find support 

VACCA’s Family Violence programs work to keep families and children safe. We offer support services to Aboriginal children and families affected by violence and abuse, so they can heal and move forward with their lives. We also assist people using violence to make positive changes in their lives. 

If you or someone you know would like to find out more about our services and begin the road to recovery from family violence, please get in touch with your nearest VACCA office today.

If you’re worried about a family member or friend 

Family violence is common in Australia. If you’re worried that family violence is impacting someone you care about, find a safe time to sit with them to yarn about your concerns. 

It can be helpful to talk about how to stay safe, and share ways to connect with family violence support services like VACCA’s. For more ways to support your friend or family member, contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for a confidential yarn. Getting professional support will provide you with information and support to decide what to do next. 

Signs of family violence in children 

Almost 90% of Aboriginal children in care are there due to family violence. Many others not in care are also impacted by the violence they see, hear and feel around them.  

Family violence can affect the behaviour, development, relationships, emotions, learning, thoughts and physical health of children and young people in many different ways: 

  • Poor concentration, aggression, hyperactivity, disobedience, disturbed sleep/nightmares, withdrawal, low self-esteem, showing no emotion (spaced out), always on edge, wary, fantasize about normal home life, pessimism about the future and physical symptoms 
  • Self-blame, helplessness, grief, fear, dread, terror, worry, sadness, shame, anger & numbness 
  • Depression, anxiety & withdrawal 

Experiencing violence in childhood also significantly increases the risk of being both a victim and a perpetrator of violence in adulthood. 

If you're a professional and want to understand more 

As a professional working in child and family services, it is important to adapt a holistic healing approach to understanding and responding to family violence in Indigenous communities. Find out more about VACCA’s Family Violence programs and support services: Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 10 year plan.

 

Resources

#SafeKoorieFamilies - Facilitators Quick Guide

#SafeKoorieFamilies - Cards for Young People

'Keeping Aboriginal Children Safe In A Mainstream Organisation’ is a video resource/tool for mainstream organisations to provide cultural safety for an Aboriginal child in the context of child safe standards. The video clip explores the three key areas 1. Being culturally competent. 2. Providing a culturally safe space and 3. Ensuring an Aboriginal child has a voice. The clip was developed by Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and funded by the Department of Health and Human Service (DHHS).

SNAICC, in collaboration with VACCA, have developed Keeping Our Kids Safe: Cultural Safety and the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

These resources supports organisations engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and communities to implement the National Principles in a culturally safe way by providing practical advice for all levels of an organisation. It highlights considerations that will help organisations to make sure their spaces are culturally safe, and free from racism and discrimination.

Download the guide - Keeping Our Kids Safe: Cultural Safety and the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, that gives practical advice on how to implement the National Principles in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities.

Watch the animated video - Keeping Our Kids Safe: Understanding Cultural Safety in Child Safe Organisations, that gives viewers an introduction to the National Principles through a cultural lens.

We have some fantastic educational and cultural resources for children and adults in our store. Check them out here!

VACCA has redeveloped five tools from the Kids Central Toolkit, Child's Voice, specifically for Aboriginal children, which provides talking tips and guidance for using the tools with Aboriginal children.

Read it here.

 

Deadly Story is a great online portal and resource that aims to support Aboriginal children and young people to grow in their knowledge of who they are, where they belong, where they come from, what they do, what they believe and what symbolises Aboriginal culture to them. It is a great way to learn about family finding, genograms, as well as having educational and employment resources.


 

To raise awareness about family violence and its impact on Aboriginal children we launched our #itswhatyoudontsee campaign on the 20th March 2018.

Led by the hashtag #itswhatyoudontsee, the campaign features four short videos that focus on one Aboriginal family and tells the story of family violence in the home and the impact it can have on the children in the family and their relationships in and outside the home. The stories were written by Aboriginal script writers and feature Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander actors who themselves have lived the impacts of family violence.

The impact of family violence on children and young people are complex. It can affect their behaviour, their development, their relationships, their emotions, their learning, their thoughts and their physical health. Experiencing violence in childhood also significantly increases the risk of being both a victim and a perpetrator of violence in adulthood.

The campaign also features an additional video, in which VACCA CEO Muriel Bamblett and Therapeutic practitioners Sue-Anne Hunter and Graham Gee reflect on the four videos, the family’s experience of family violence and the interventions that are working for Aboriginal families.

As a child welfare agency, we know that almost 90% of Aboriginal children in care are there due to family violence, and there are many others who are not in care who nevertheless see, feel and are impacted by violence around them. VACCA provides men, women, children and adolescents a range of counselling, groups and case management across metropolitan Melbourne and Gippsland as well as crisis accommodation services for Aboriginal women and their children (Gippsland only). If you want to find out more or have any questions you can find our contact information here.

It is vital that we raise awareness in the community about the effect violence has on people – whether it is physical or not. We encourage you to share the videos and spread the message.

#itswhatyoudontsee

Needing help now?

IMPORTANT
If you or anyone you know is in immediate danger – please call 000 now.

Click through to read more about who to contact if you need help or support.

Want to know more?

You might wonder ‘what is family violence?’ Family violence is sometimes called different names such as “domestic violence” or “abuse”. It is important to acknowledge that family violence is not part of Indigenous culture.

DEFINITION
The Victorian Indigenous Family Violence Task Force defined family violence as: ‘An issue focused around a wide range of physical, emotional, sexual, social, spiritual, cultural, psychological and economic abuses that occur within families, intimate relationships, extended families, kinship networks and communities. It extends to one-on-one fighting, abuse of Indigenous community workers as well as self-harm, injury and suicide.’

Click through to read about examples of different types of family violence.

If you’re worried about a family member or friend

Family violence is common in Australia and it may impact on you or someone you care about.

If you are worried that a friend or family member might be experiencing family violence, you could find a safe time to sit with them to yarn about your concerns.

Some helpful things to talk about might include how to keep them safe or showing them this webpage so they can find professional support.

If you want to find out more ways to support your friend or family member, you can contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for a confidential yarn.

They will be able provide you with helpful information and support you in deciding what to do next.

Impact of family violence on children and young people

The impacts of family violence on children and young people are complex.

It can affect their behaviour, their development, their relationships, their emotions, their learning, their thoughts and their physical health.

Some things you might notice in a child or young person could be:

  • Poor concentration, aggression, hyperactivity, disobedience, disturbed sleep/nightmares, withdrawal, low self-esteem, showing no emotion (spaced out), always on edge, wary, fantasize about normal home life, pessimism about the future and physical symptoms
  • Self-blame, helplessness, grief, fear, dread, terror, worry, sadness, shame, anger & numbness
  • Depression, anxiety & withdrawal

Experiencing violence in childhood is a significant risk factor for being both a victim and a perpetrator of violence in adulthood.

If you are a professional and want to understand more

As a professional it is important that you adapt a holistic healing approach to understanding and responding to family violence in Indigenous communities.

Strong Culture, Strong Peoples, Strong Families 10 year plan

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.