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The Healing Journey Family Violence Prevention in Aboriginal Communities


Safety for my children

Strategies for developing a safety plan with your child(ren) should include their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It is important to help children and youth learn ways to protect themselves. Children exposed to family violence can be profoundly affected. It is very traumatic to be faced with violence directed at them or someone they love. Personal safety is extremely important and safety planning is always necessary for children whose families are experiencing violence.

CRISIS SITUATION
 
Your child witnesses or is exposed to parents or caregivers who make threats of violence, cause injury, or damage to property or pets . . .
 
Have your child identify a safe room/place in the house, preferably with a lock on the door, and a phone. The first step of any plan is for the children to get out of the room where the abuse is occurring.
Teach the child how to call for help. It is important to ensure that the child know they should not use a phone that is in view of the abuser. This puts them at risk.
Teach them how to contact police or band constables and their emergency numbers, or to call 911.
Ensure that the child knows his or her street address and his or her full name
Rehearse what they will say. In the case of young children it should be simple yet specific, i.e. “someone is hurting mommy”.
It is important for children to leave the phone off the hook after they are finished talking. The police will call the number back if the child hangs up. This could create a dangerous situation for yourself and the child.
Teach the child about safe places to go such as a neighbour’s or a relative’s home.
Make sure your children know that they should not feel responsible for the abuse. It is not their fault.
Make sure your children know they should get to safety and that it is not their responsibility to distract the abuser or to get involved in the abusive episode.
Make sure your children know that the most important thing they can do for their mothers and their families is to get out of the way!
Make sure your children know that they are not expected to stop the abuse – other adults can do that.
The most important thing for a child to know is that you love them and want them to keep themselves safe.
Make sure the children know that knowing who to call and how to get help is the best way for children to help a parent who is being abused.
There are people who can talk to them to help them deal with the pain of seeing their mother or others being abused.

Key Messages for Children

1.
You are not to blame for the abuse.
2. You must not put yourself in danger.
3. Abuse is very dangerous, and it is against the law.
4. If you have a safe place, go there when the abuse is happening.
5. You are not responsible for your mother's safety, but you may be able to get help.
6. If you can get to a phone in your own house, a neighbour's house, or a pay phone, you can call for help.

Here’s what to do when you call for HELP:

Dial: 9 1 1.
They will say: “POLICE, FIRE, AMBULANCE”
You answer: Police
Then say:
My name is _______________________.
I am _______________________ years old.
I need help. Send the police.
Someone is hurting my mom.
The address here is _______________________.
The phone number here is _______________________ .

It may not be safe for you to stay on the phone. If it is not safe tell the person that and then just put the phone down.

DO NOT HANG UP.

If you hang up, the police may call you back.