safe steps is a child-focussed service, committed to ensuring all children and young people are able to grow up in safety and live free from family violence.
We recognise family violence is a form of child abuse, whether children experience the violence directly or not. Not only can it affect the safety, stability and development of infants, children and young people, but it can result in developmental, neurological, relational, physical and emotional harm.
Through our direct services, safe steps assists children who have been impacted by abuse in the home in specific, age-appropriate ways. Through our education initiatives, we aim to ensure all children and young people understand what healthy, respectful relationships look like. We believe assisting and educating children is key to breaking intergenerational cycles of gender inequality and abuse and eliminating family violence for future generations.
How we support children impacted by family violence
We acknowledge that, historically, children and young people have often been treated as “secondary victims” of abuse by family violence services. We recognise that children have a unique experience of family violence which is very different to their mother’s.
It is a continuing priority of safe steps to be child focused and provide age appropriate services and resources for children and young people experiencing family violence that allow them to understand and overcome their experiences of abuse, and live safe from violence and fear.
Our aim is to build responses that support children to heal, recover, and flourish. But beyond that, we strive to ensure all facets of our practice and service delivery reflect our commitment to the ongoing health and safety of children and young people with a lived experience of family violence as a priority.
50 per cent of clients helped by safe steps are under the age of 18 with many of the women coming through the service fleeing violent homes with their children, reinforcing our need to support the most vulnerable members of our community.
safe steps offers:
- A range of support services for children and young people
- safesteps4children.org.au – an interactive website that aims to help young children aged 3-7 who have experienced family violence adjust to entering safe house/refuge accommodation
How we educate children about family violence
safe steps is committed to educating young people about respectful relationships, harmful gender stereotypes and abusive behaviours. This forms a core aspect of our prevention strategy that aims to address social enables of family violence and ultimately eliminate abuse within our community.
We do this through:
- Free school speaking engagements (to book a speaker for your school or community event, visit the Educational Speakers page)
- safesteps4youth.org.au – an educational website about family violence and healthy relationships for teens and young people
- Print resources for children and young people
Creating child-centric services and systems
We actively advocate for reforms that will ensure systemic institutions including the Family Court are driven by practices that protect children and uphold their rights to safety and security. For more information on our policy positions and submissions, visit the Policy Submissions page.