Samuel's Story


Samuel was exposed to a hostile home life and extreme abuse and neglect at the early stages of life.

His abuse started in the womb

Four year old Samuel was born into a home that was rife with domestic violence. His journey with abuse started while he was still in the womb. His mother Michelle fell pregnant as a teen and was herself a victim of extreme domestic violence at the hands of Samuel’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, Samuel was deprived of care, nurture, attachment, attention, and love from both of his parents for the first 2- 3 years of his life.

Due to the significant neglect, he grew up not having anyone to talk to. He was not taken care of, and had no one to play, learn, and explore with. The lack of guidance and engagement from his parents had a profound effect on his personal development, both emotionally and physically. It also impacted the development of Samuel’s social communication skills as well as basic speech and language.

Scared and alone

After the birth of her second child, his 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 Samuel in any playgroups or day care, and lacked the emotional stability to provide this level of attention and care to Samuel herself.

Samuel spent his first 4 years of life at home, and being alone.

Help was on the way

Although the physical abuse had stopped since his father left, the neglect continued, as Michelle was suffering the effects of trauma herself, and couldn’t properly care for her kids.

Samuel would wake up in the morning to find Michelle still asleep until late afternoon, therefore he had to take care of his baby brother and find ways to keep himself busy.

As a result of the severe neglect, Samuel was referred to Act for Kids by a case worker.

At the start of our engagement, Samuel presented with little or no play skills, no speech sounds, disordered movement and limited expression on his beautiful little face.

The Act for Kids team worked with Samuel to help him experience the attention and play that he missed out on throughout the previous four years of his life, and helped him to develop the play skills appropriate for his age.

We also worked with Samuel to help facilitate words and two-way communication between Samuel and his 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, Samuel has improved in his self-awareness, engagement with other people, intentional communication, as well as social skills. He is now able to initiate conversations with gestures, request for help, convey key messages and engage in play without hesitation.

Samuel 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, Samuel and his brother….and we will be there to support them every step of the way.

The Bigger Problem

Last year,

over 480,000

reports were made to child protection authorities


174,700 kids

accessed child protective services


1 in every 32

Aussie kids!

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.

How you can help