The head of a Perth domestic violence support group said more attention needed to be paid toward supporting children of parents in violent relationships.
Non-profit support group Starick chief executive Leanne Barron said the long-lasting impact of domestic violence on children was often overlooked or underestimated during and after support was given to their mothers.
Ms Barron was in Kelmscott on November 23 to meet with other support group operators and Member for Burt Matt Keogh on the eve of the White Ribbon Day domestic violence awareness march in Armadale.
“We think an area that’s really not funded enough is supporting children,” she said.
“There’s more and more research around the impact of violence on children.
“In our refuges we have room for six women and their children – up to 19 children.
“After women leave the refuge and go out to the community we don’t have the resources to continue outreach support to their children.
“We think they probably need a longer timeframe of support.”
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare said there were nearly a quarter million Australian children who were believed to be harmed or at risk of domestic violence in 2015-16.
Ms Barron said the figures showed how important it was to assist groups in targeting and working with vulnerable children.
“We think the support system needs to follow them for a longer time,” she said.
Ms Barron said funding was currently provided to refuges that supported children as well as parents, but more was needed.
The Australian-based Domestic Violence Prevention Centre said child victims of domestic violence often suffered physical and emotional trauma similar to victims of child abuse, regardless of whether they were physically harmed.
The centre said children who came out of violent relationships often struggled with concentration, aggression, depression and emotional disconnect.
Starick runs shelters for women and their children escaping violent relationships across Perth.