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The mental health effect of domestic violence

What are we not picturing in this scenario? Many women who leave an unsafe house don’t have children, but this woman? She has her three children with her; this now compounds her problem many times. With a 10 per cent chance of finding shelter (for safety) on any given day in Sydney, her odds are lessened due to having her children with her.

Thanks to not-for-profit organisations like Vinnies and Coast Shelter (see links below) the woman is granted shelter, and so, in our imagination, what’s next? For the mum, there is a barrage of things to organise, from family lawyers to finances, which we’ll go into in the next article. But what about the children?

With increasing numbers of women leaving the family home with their children, we need to start thinking about reopening the reassigned homeless shelters for women and children only. Yes, Prime Minister Turnbull, I am looking directly at you. Look at how family violence affects our children and their mental and emotional health and at what support can be put in place in our communities, especially schools, to help identify children of homes with domestic violence.

I heard rumblings the other day: a teacher friend had mentioned that they could soon be receiving some training to help identify potentially radicalised students in the school (at least in Queensland). Now at first, this seems like a great idea. Radicalisation in any form is a scourge on our country, actually any country for that matter. But then I sat on it for a bit. Something didn’t feel right. Yes, radicalisation needs to be addressed, though I am unsure whether teachers are best placed for this, but the mental health of a child? One known to be affected by domestic violence? Yes, that’s who the teacher should be trained to look out for.

Federal funding for mental health has increased over the past seven years by about $1.5 billion, but with no clear direction on the lack of both clinical support and community services for remote areas. Australia still has a way to go. With the only child-specified initiatives being headspace and KidsMatter, to coin a popular culture reference “won’t someone please think of the children?”

  • Women dead from domestic violence in September: 4
  • Year to date: 63
  • Children dead: 83 since 2005
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