Two early childhood educators from Tasmania have written a book to help young children survive family violence. Queenie’s Little Book of Comfort follows Queenie the quoll who, when faced with family violence, seeks help from her neighbour Eric the echidna.
“We decided to create this little book about Queenie because we were so heartbroken about the amount of children that come to school or play group that are trying to survive family violence,” said Judi Rhodes who wrote the book with friend Tanya McQueen.
“These little children have no skills or tools to help them survive.”
Ms Rhodes and Ms McQueen spent two months working on the book and several more getting it published.
“We’ve already trialled reading the story to different age groups of young children and instantly you’ll hear comments like, ‘My Mummy and Daddy never argue,’ which is lovely, or, ‘Daddy makes Mummy cry all the time,'” Ms Rhodes said.
Ms McQueen hoped the book would allow teachers and carers to help those children.
“The right support can happen for them, they can have the conversation,” Ms McQueen said.
“If they disclose something major we can refer into the right services to get assistance for these children and also for the family as well.”
The book provides steps to help children calm themselves and seek shelter.
“Hopefully we can give children skills to cope and survive. That’s our biggest thing, because quite often these children are still in the situation all the time,” Ms Rhodes said.
Centre director Angela Conley said it could be read to groups of children or used one-on-one with children that may be having trouble at home.
“Resources that deal with tricky topics, and that are suitable to use with really young children, are really hard to find,” she said.
“A book that gives you tools or strategies about how to deal with it is really, really important to have in this environment.”
The Women’s Legal Service Queensland, which works with women who are victims of domestic violence, has the book in its waiting room for children to read.
“I really like how the book validates children’s feelings of feeling scared because children, you can imagine, feel quite confused in a house where there is domestic violence, where the one that loves them they are also fearful of,” chief executive Angela Lynch said.
“This book is a small piece of the puzzle in relation to how we respond to domestic violence in relation to children,” she said.
“There has to be significant investment by government in relation to children’s counselling and policy around this to really respond to children appropriately in these situations.”
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