SHINING A LIGHT ON FAMILY VIOLENCE IN EARLY CHILDHOOD

The effect of family violence on the state’s youngest children was the focus of a major community childcare conference held in Melbourne today.

In opening the Responding to and Preventing Family Violence: The Role of Early Childhood Professionals conference, Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos spoke about:

  • the important role early childhood educators play in identifying family violence and connecting vulnerable families to available support and services
  • the new edition of the Victorian Early Years Learning Framework, released in May, which now includes a strengthened focus on vulnerable families and respectful relationships
  • the review of the Common Risk Assessment Framework (CRAF) which helps professionals across range of fields including early childhood use the same approach when identifying and assessing the risks associated with family violence

One in five first-time mothers experience emotional or physical abuse in the first 12 months after giving birth, and 29 per cent of mothers report partner abuse in the first four years after their child is born.

The conference aligns with the Andrews Labor Government’s overhaul of the child protection system, Roadmap for Reform, by focusing on early intervention and responsiveness before situations reach crisis point.

The Labor Government has invested in training for 900 early childhood educators and teachers in trauma informed practice to support children affected by family violence.

The Victorian Budget 2016/17 includes a $3 million investment for Respectful Relationships training for teachers and educators in every Victorian kindergarten.

This will help children develop positive attitudes about relationships that they will carry throughout their lives, and further support family violence prevention.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“Victoria’s early years educators are our partners as we work together to prevent the scourge of family violence.”  

“We must start in the early years if we want to change the attitudes and social conditions that lead to family violence.”

Quote attributable to Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria Chief Executive Officer Emily Maguire

“Early childhood services are an ideal setting to develop a foundation of gender equity and respectful relationships in children that helps to prevent violence in the next generation.”