Ashton and his brother, Grant, suffered a horrendous childhood at the hands of their violent and controlling father. And then their lives changed forever with the most shocking act of all.
Ashton was 15 and his little brother was just 6 years old when their father doused their mother in petrol and set her alight. He then locked her in the family caravan and left her to die from the burns to 99% of her body.
He just locked her in and drove away. She died a few hours later. And we never saw her again
This experience for Ashton and Grant, the brutal murder of their mother, would be so horrific, painful and heart wrenching for many adults to endure let alone children.
Ashton and Grant had no family to care for them. They were immediately placed in foster care. As if the murder of their mum was not bad enough. In the midst of their grief, they were uprooted from their family home as well. That came as a second trauma.
Now in his early thirties, Ashton reflects,
"I WILL NEVER FORGET THE PEOPLE WHO TURNED THINGS AROUND FOR ME.
The positive side is based largely around the help given to my young brother and myself by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation people.
When we were at our lowest point, with me 15 and my brother just 6, it was the professional Alannah & Madeline people who reached out.
I will never forget the generous, compassionate, thoughtful professionals at Alannah & Madeline Foundation who turned things around for me. Today it seems quite ironic to me that Alannah & Madeline Foundation was only started because of an act of horrific and senseless violence and it was after an act of unbelievable, criminal violence, that Alannah & Madeline Foundation gave my brother and me so much.
IN MANY WAYS, IT WAS THE ALANNAH & MADELINE FOUNDATION THAT GAVE ME BACK MY LIFE."
Ashton looks back on a childhood that would send most of us into an instant shiver. You could say, his was equal to the worst possible start in life. Yet, as a university lecturer in Melbourne today, Ashton can also look back on major positives.
Obviously, the two innocent boys were going to require a miracle if they were to come out of such horrific grief and trauma. And as it happened it was the program we now call Children Ahead that supported these boys and helped guide them into calmer waters.
Please show you really care for children experiencing violence by sending your donation now.
Our Children Ahead program provides intensive, therapeutic support to children and young people aged 0-18 years to assist their recovery from significant trauma or violence. In Australia there are hundreds of thousands of children living with violence in the home. The violence they experience will often affect their physical and emotional development - they may feel insecure, have difficulties learning and managing their emotions. They may also find it difficult to trust others and find themselves unsure of their place in the world.
Each of these children need support to recover.
They need support to thrive.
They need support to help break the cycle of violence.
Having positive learning opportunities at school helps prepare children and young people for the future. We work with schools, families and children to overcome education obstacles caused by trauma.
We use age-appropriate therapeutic tools and activities to help each child and young person speak openly and safely about their experiences and feelings. They learn skills to build self-esteem and resilience and manage strong emotions.
Children and young people benefit from positive relationships. We help them build friendships, trust and develop social, communication and conflict resolution skills. We link them in with their local community by helping them access recreational and skills-based activities. Through this they can build social skills and self-confidence and develop a sense of belonging.
We help parents and carers understand their child’s behaviour from a trauma perspective and learn ways to respond differently.
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