Hold My Heart program focuses on the impacts of family violence on mothers, carers and children.
We aim to provide a safe space for mothers, carers and children to process and share their own experiences of family violence within a group environment.
Hold My Heart program is designed for primary school aged children of 8-12 years, and their mothers/carers who have been exposed to family violence.
The program involves a children’s group and a mothers’ group, running on alternate days. The group sessions include the therapeutic use of art, music, games, exercises and discussions.
GROUP SESSIONS will run for eight weeks in Term 1 commencing 3 Feb 2020 for Children and 4 Feb 2020 for the mother/carer.
You can refer yourself to this program by contacting Child FIRST on 1800 663 107, or an organisation can refer you.
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What does the Hold My Heart Program offer?
• A positive shared therapeutic experience between children and their mothers/carers.
• A safe space for children to express their own personal experiences of family violence, and for this to be validated in the presence of a group of peers with similar experiences.
• Opportunity to build a healthy bridge of communication between mothers/carers and their children as a means of safely re-connecting around what has often been a shared experience of family violence.
• Support to recognise and process the strong level of attachment the child may still have with the perpetrator of the violence.
What is the format and content of the program sessions?
• Weekly group sessions approximately 1½ hours duration for children, and 2 hours for mothers/carers for eight weeks.
• The group work includes a combination of artwork, games, music, exercises and discussion.
• Each session is structured so that the mothers’ group mirrors the content of the children’s group, allowing for points of connection to be shared.
• Themes covered within both groups can include children developing more appropriate and safe ways to manage and express their anger, as well as creating trust, keeping safe, and definitions of violence.
• Support for children and mothers/carers in challenging rigidly held gender prescriptions.
Accessing the Hold My Heart Program:
• You can refer yourself to this program by contacting Child FIRST on 1800 663 107, or an organisation can refer you.
• The program is free to attend.
• Once the referral has been processed, group facilitators will arrange a time to meet the mothers/carers and children to discuss the program in more detail and assess whether the family is suited to the program.
• Facilitators will then confirm with the family of their participation in the program, and further details of the session dates and times will be provided.
Will there be childcare available?
Childcare can be provided. If there is a need for childcare for the mothers/carers group session, please advise in the referral.