Melissa and Jasmine

" Many kids experience devastating abuse and neglect at the hands of people they should be able to trust. "

They will need ongoing treatment and support, for many years to come. But there is always hope.

Hungry. Tired. Scared.

Melissa was only 7 years old and her older sister Jasmine 13, when they had witnessed and experienced significant trauma in their lives. They were exposed to substance abuse, domestic violence and neglect. Often the girls were left to fend for themselves for extensive periods. Sadly, their mother disappeared for days at a time, leaving them without basic necessities, including food.

At home, their mother drank excessive amounts of alcohol which led to her vomiting and passing out in front of her young daughters. Jasmine and Melissa were responsible for ordering takeaway for dinner, getting themselves to and from school, plus setting their own bedtime routines. Jasmine was also a victim of physical abuse often bought on when she’d asked her mother to stop drinking. Home was a not a safe place, it was dysfunctional and chaotic.

Recently the sisters were referred to Act for Kids, to begin a journey to healing. At the time 7-year-old Melissa was suffering anxiety, depression, anger and symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Her sister Jasmine, had similar serious mental health problems, but was also showing major behavioural concerns at school. She’d been getting into physical fights, disrupting other classmates and was often disengage from learning. Jasmine was in an at risk category suffering depression, anger and post-traumatic stress.

The girls have been taking part in the Act for Kids Flourish program, which is a counselling service to help children, who have experienced trauma or who are at-risk of harm. So far, Melissa has had 11 sessions with her clinical psychologist which focused on teaching her about protective behaviours and therapy to address her behavioural difficulties. Incredibly, after just four months of working with the support of a dedicated therapist Melissa had displayed significant improvements to her emotional wellbeing and behaviour. She was now sleeping in her own bed every night and family members told our team they are less concerned about her emotions or problem behaviours at home.

Jasmine has also completed group and individual therapy sessions with a Flourish psychologist. Since beginning her journey to healing she has begun processing the traumatic events experienced from such a young age. She’s also begun learning new skills to help her cope with her emotions and has been able to implement these at school to regulate her behaviour.

The sisters have been removed from their mother’s care and are showing positive signs of healing. In time, it is hoped that their smiles will return.

The bigger problem

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020. Child Protection Australia 2018-19. Child welfare series no.72. Cat. No. CWS 74. Canberra: AIHW.

Abuse and neglect

" Many children experience multiple forms of abuse and neglect. "

The majority (54%) experience emotional abuse, followed by neglect (21%). 15% experience physical abuse and 10% 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 a world of difference

It takes a lot of hard work to heal little hearts. But, with early, trauma-informed support, we can give kids a second chance at childhood.

How you can help

We can’t do this important work without your help. We rely heavily on donations to support our intensive therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and early support for families at risk. Your donation will help us keep our doors open and expand our services.

Donate Now

Donations over $2 are tax deductible. Every donation, big or small, combines to make a real difference.


Donate Monthly

Your generosity means we can continue providing our integrated therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and support services for families.

Becoming a Kids’ Crusader and donating monthly is the best way to help us help kids and families – it means we can direct funds where they’re needed most and make the biggest impact over time.

Workplace giving

As an employee, workplace giving enables you to make a regular donation to Act for Kids through your payroll, directly from your pre-tax pay. This means that you receive an immediate tax saving as it reduces your taxable income.

Donate in your will

By leaving a bequest to Act for Kids, you can make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people who have experienced abuse and neglect. By including Act for Kids in your will, you offer a gift of hope to future generations and you will help us give abused and neglected children the chance to lead safe, happy and fulfilling lives.

More stories

Aiden’s Story

For the first six years of his little life, eight-year-old Aiden was beaten, burned, threatened, and degraded.

Lacey-Jane’s Story

Neglected and scared, four-and-a-half year old Lacey-Jane began running away from prep school.

Thomas’ Story

At three years old Thomas could barely walk or speak, and his body was covered in scratches.



If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to or call 1300 228 000

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Referral Services

If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to or call 07 3850 3200

  • Drop files here or