A new picture book launched today in Melbourne aims to help children build resilience and recover from family violence, so that they understand they are not to blame – and are not alone.
Hope was written by author, educator and advocate Jayneen Sanders, co-founder of Educate2Empower Publishing. It was developed with the assistance of not-for-profit organisations EDVOS and Anglicare Victoria to support adults to provide a safe and supportive response when children share their experiences of family violence. It aims to help children voice their concerns and fears with adults they trust such as a family member, teacher, carer or the police.
Hope was launched today at an online event attended by hundreds of people, with the support of Anglicare Victoria and EDVOS.
Author Jayneen Sanders said she writes children’s books to empower children.
“There are many vulnerable children in our communities who are living in domestic violence homes who feel powerless, scared and unsafe. So I wrote this book for them, to give them hope that things might change in time and for them to realise that their situation is not their fault. It was written to provide children in family violence homes with a sense of hope and to lessen the traumatic effects of their living situations,” she said.
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said family violence incidents in the home sadly reached an all-time high in Victoria during COVID-19, making resources such as Hope incredibly important for children and young people who are experiencing these events.
“Every day Anglicare Victoria staff work with families who have been profoundly affected by family violence. The message in Hope is that circumstances can change, and that children are never to blame. The accountability always lies with the person choosing to use violence, and that’s where change needs to start.”
EDVOS CEO Christine Mathieson said that almost half the family violence referrals to her organisation in Melbourne’s east metropolitan region involve children.
“More than two-thirds of mothers have children in their care when they experience violence from their previous or current partners. Children are not just passive witnesses or secondary victims. They need to be recognised and supported as victim survivors of family violence in their own rights,” Ms Mathieson said.
“It is important that children are at the forefront of our vision and that we provide opportunities for support and look for ways to instil hope, when it may be lost. We must remember that many children and young people display incredible resilience, therefore we need to recognise their strength and respect each child’s experience and stories as they provide the most critical learning for us.”
Too often children in these environments blame themselves for the violence in their homes and take on the burden of shame and guilt. This unique picture book aims to reassure children that family violence is never ever their fault and that there is also hope that things might change.
Visit the Level Playground website for more information or to purchase a copy of Hope.
Contacts for interviews:
– Author Jayneen Sanders from Educate2Empower – Simone Redman-Jones on 0421 422 070
– Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald – Sarah Baird, Senior Media Advisor at on 0419 035 117
– EDVOS CEO Christine Mathieson – Youna Kim on 0407 650 844