Early start the key

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Kwinana Early Years’ Service chief executive officer Annette Harwood said working with children and families was crucial in reducing domestic violence.
Camera IconKwinana Early Years’ Service chief executive officer Annette Harwood said working with children and families was crucial in reducing domestic violence.

A group in Kwinana have joined a national campaign, aimed at stopping the cycle of domestic violence through working with young people and those they look up to.

About a month ago Kwinana Early Years’ Service joined the Stop it at the Start campaign, aimed at encouraging adults who influence young people, such as parents, teachers, coaches, employers and community leaders to think about the impact they can have on those in their care.

Kwinana Early Years’ Service chief executive officer Annette Harwood said working with those young people look up to could help end the cycle of domestic violence.

“I think this campaign is really about earlier intervention, it is about stopping domestic violence before it starts,” she said.

“At the moment people people are saying domestic violence is a social problem which has really escalated quite quickly.

“I would argue in my time working in Kwinana it has been a constant issue and we have never really looked at how to stop it from happening in the future.”

Ms Harwood said the campaign was about addressing the violent behaviour young people see and talking about why it is wrong.

“I think the science has really come out now to say when children are young is a pivotal time in influencing the way they develop relationships,” she said.

“We see so much of the impact domestic violence has on children and families and it would be great to stop it happening as frequently in the future.”

Federal families and social services minister Anne Ruston said violence against women and children remained a serious issue in Australia.

“One in six women experience physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner,” she said.

“The Stop it at the Start campaign encourages us to take a step back and look at where the cycle of disrespect towards women can start.

“As parents, teachers, coaches and other community role models, we have tremendous influence over the young people in our lives through which we must promote respectful relationships to help break down the cycle of domestic violence.”

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