Samantha was exposed to a hostile home life and extreme abuse and neglect at the early stages of life.
Her abuse started in the womb
Four year old Samantha was born into a home that was rife with domestic violence. Her journey with abuse started while she was still in the womb. Her mother Michelle fell pregnant as a teen and was herself a victim of extreme domestic violence at the hands of Samantha ’s father. This abuse led her into severe depression and self-neglect throughout her pregnancy.
A horrific start to life
Due to the intense and frequent family violence, Samantha was deprived of care, nurture, attachment, attention, and love from both of her parents for the first 2- 3 years of her life.
Due to the significant neglect, she grew up not having anyone to talk to. She was not taken care of, and had no one to play, learn, and explore with. The lack of guidance and engagement from her parents had a profound effect on her personal development, both emotionally and physically. It also impacted the development of Samantha’s social communication skills as well as basic speech and language.
Scared and alone
After the birth of her second child, her mum Michelle found it extremely hard to care for both of her children without any support. She took the brave first step and had mustered enough courage to separate from her abuser – but as a young single mother, she felt judged and humiliated by other families in her neighbourhood.
As a result, she was unable to engage Samantha in any playgroups or day care, and lacked the emotional stability to provide this level of attention and care to Samantha herself.
Samantha spent her first 4 years of life at home, and being alone.
Help was on the way
Although the physical abuse had stopped since her father left, the neglect continued, as Michelle was suffering the effects of trauma herself, and couldn’t properly care for her kids.
Samantha would wake up in the morning to find Michelle still asleep until late afternoon, therefore she had to take care of her baby brother and find ways to keep herself busy.
As a result of the severe neglect, Samantha was referred to Act for Kids by a case worker.
At the start of our engagement, Samantha presented with little or no play skills, no speech sounds, disordered movement and limited expression on her beautiful little face.
The Act for Kids team worked with Samantha to help her experience the attention and play that she missed out on throughout the previous four years of her life, and helped her to develop the play skills appropriate for his age.
We also worked with Samantha to help facilitate words and two-way communication between Samuel and her communication partners.
A long way to go
The Act for Kids team also worked with Michelle to help build her self-confidence, and guide her through proper parenting skills to best help her kids, and foster a healthier, more secure home life for her children.
Since the commencement of integrated therapy at Act for Kids, Samantha has improved in her self-awareness, engagement with other people, intentional communication, as well as social skills. She is now able to initiate conversations with gestures, request for help, convey key messages and engage in play without hesitation.
Samantha and Michelle still have a way to go, but the profound effects of the domestic and family violence they endured will take a long time to heal. The Act for Kids team are confident that through continued support, therapy and guidance, things will continue to improve for Michelle, Samantha and her brother….and we will be there to support them every step of the way.
The Bigger Problem
reports were made to child protection authorities
accessed child protective services
1 in every 32
Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child protection Australia 2019-20.
Abuse and neglect
The majority (54%) experience emotional abuse, followed by neglect (22%). One in five (14%) experience physical abuse and 9% experience sexual abuse.
Abuse and neglect can impact a child’s brain development, how they feel and think about themselves, how successful they are at school, even their physical development and skills. In the long term this can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, difficulty developing and maintaining good relationships, unemployment and all sorts of social disadvantage.
Early intervention makes the world of difference
With early and appropriate support, children can overcome their experiences and go on to have happy and productive lives. With continued support and positive reinforcement Ethan will be able to overcome his traumatic childhood experiences and achieve his full potential. Thank you for helping us give these kids the childhood they truly deserve.
How you can help
We rely heavily on donations to support our Integrated Therapy Services, and provide help to children and families who have experienced or are at risk of harm. With your support, we can continue to help keep kids safe, heal from trauma and lead happy lives.
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