Working together to protect and care for our most vulnerable children

in News

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation has joined forces with Richmond Football Club to highlight National Child Protection Week (6-12 September) and its work in protecting and putting children first.

The Club has been supporting the Foundation as its preferred charity partner since 2012. This year’s joint Light the Darkness campaign shines a light on the impact that COVID-19 lockdowns has had on family violence and cyber bullying.

While some of these impacts include a 40 per cent increase in reports of online abusive behaviour, including cyber bullying, lockdown has also created an environment where it’s easier for domestic and family violence to be hidden.

Richmond’s CEO Brendon Gale said keeping children safe is something he and his team have supported for many years.

“No matter the crisis, there is no place for violence in our children’s lives,” Gale said.

Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO Lesley Podesta said this year’s Light the Darkness campaign will go a long way in helping support children who are often going through the worst time in their lives.

“We work with traumatised children who’ve experienced family violence, neglect and abuse, as well as their families and schools, through our Children Ahead program,” Lesley said.

“We ensure these youngsters are supported through individual therapeutic counselling for up to two years.”

Anna and her three children aged 5-12 years were referred to the Children Ahead program after years of abuse from her husband.

Following a particularly violent episode, which the children witnessed, and which resulted in Anna sustaining serious injuries, the children spent a short period of time in foster care while their mum recovered. As a result, Anna’s ex-husband was charged and incarcerated.

The Foundation’s Head of Care, Lee Cameron, said the children returned to their mother’s care but showed significant signs of trauma such as bed wetting, nightmares and refusing to leave her side.

“The children required intense trauma-informed therapeutic support to heal and feel safe again,” Lee said.

The children’s schools also needed support to increase their understanding of the impact that childhood trauma has on cognition, brain development, behaviour, physical, mental and emotional health and relationships.

“Through engagement with the Children Ahead program, the children’s therapeutic practitioner was able to establish trust and safety and work collaboratively with Anna, as well as with the school and local community and services to support the children,” she said.

The Light the Darkness campaign showcases top Richmond Football Club players asking the public to support the Club’s call to donate to the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

These much-needed funds will go towards providing the vital care and support that children in crisis so desperately need to help them break free from their trauma and recover.

Click here to donate

NB: For privacy reasons we have changed the name and ages of the woman and children referred to in this story. But this situation did happen and unfortunately situations like this continue to happen to other families across Australia.

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