A new report calls for young witnesses of family violence to be supported to recognise violence, seek help and heal from trauma.
Commissioner for Children and Young People Mark Morrissey shed light on just how much domestic violence can affect children in a new report released this week.
“I run down the stairs to see what is happening … I tried to help. I tried to guard Mum so he couldn’t hurt her,” one eight-year-old wrote in the report.
“I would hear Mummy and Daddy yelling and it would wake me up. It would get louder,” said another eight-year-old.
The new report found children who had experienced family violence had developed high levels of resilience and it should not be presumed that their potential to succeed was lessened by these experiences.
Mr Morrissey said domestic violence was an issue of child rights and that the views of young people should be taken seriously and respected.
In a list of principles of assessing young people, the report said children’s issues should always be paramount, every child has a unique experience of domestic violence and children’s silence was not a reason to stop listening to them.
“Each child, in their own way, will need a slightly different response, so one response isn’t going to be good for all kids,” Mr Morrissey said.
“By listening to children, by understanding more of the data around children, I think we can continually improve how we provide emergency accommodation and support to children.”