This month, Rosie Batty visited Bundaberg to celebrate the launch of the Act for Kids Flourish program which is now being delivered to schools in the region.
Act for Kids commenced the program earlier this year in Rosedale, Gin Gin and Isis State schools and are already working with many local children and families to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect.
With the help of funding support from Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN and the Department of Education, Act for Kids provides therapy to help children and overcome their experiences through individual therapeutic support, group programs and counselling for families with a range of challenges.
More than 656 children were confirmed as abused or neglected in the Wide Bay region in the 2015/2016 financial year, said Mr Thomas McIntyre, Regional Director, Act for Kids.
An important part of the program is to clarify the causes of behaviour problems, and rather than being wilful or deliberately naughty, these kids may be showing symptoms of unsafe and scary experiences.
Some may have had to defend a parent or siblings from violent situations at home. Even when they are in a safe place like a classroom, if faced with a challenge they can respond aggressively with extreme physical reactions, or by running away from school.
Australian of the Year 2015, CEO of the Luke Batty Foundation and anti-family violence campaigner Rosie Batty said, When children see and hear family violence, it makes learning and childhood extremely difficult.
Family violence is everyones business. It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in particular.
“Children’s voices are so often not heard. Its terrible that we are not listening to the plight of children who are caught up in family violence.
Early support and intervention age is crucial, Ms Batty said.
Peter Malouf, from Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN said With professional assessment, greater understanding and targeted support, children who have been exposed to violence at home are better able to stay at school, get back on track and achieve their potential.
The programs delivered by Act for Kids are designed to meet the local community need for improved access to early intervention services in the Bundaberg region.
Every child in our region should be able to live free from the effects of abuse, violence and neglect. The evidence shows that this program is designed to effectively provide children with the support they need.
We are pleased to be funding Act for Kids to provide local children in our community with the tools they need to live happier, healthier lives.