A pilot program for mothers who have been the victims of family violence, child abuse or sexual assault, and their children will roll out in Shepparton in the coming weeks.
Ran through the Caroline Chisholm Society, Children and Mothers in Mind (CMiM) sees participants spend around 20 weeks taking part in the program over the course of three hours each week.
CMiM senior practitioner Jeanette Monteith will lead the program alongside fellow senior practitioner Liz Meloury and said they hope to begin the first group on September 20.
‘‘The first six sessions will look at connections and family relationships and what makes a healthy relationship,’’ Ms Monteith said.
‘‘This will be focused around past trauma and how it has impacted on the mother.’’
Ms Monteith said participants would then spend another 10 weeks with their child (four years and under) attending sessions.
‘‘This is about rebuilding attachment,’’ she said and added they use a variety of methods such as sing-a-longs and reading to do so.
The program will finish up with a four week case management period with each participant.
‘‘We’re looking for eight mums for each group,’’ Ms Meloury said and added that these could be self-referred.
Ms Meloury said the model came from a pilot program in Canada and was funded through the Victorian Government.
‘‘Hopefully we can make a difference,’’ Ms Monteith said.
The women said it was fantastic family violence was beginning to receive so much focus and funding at a government level.
‘‘They’re realising the impact it can have on everything,’’ Ms Monteith said. ‘‘For so long it has been seen as just a womens issue.
‘‘This program is fantastic as it connects the dots between family violence and poor parenting.
‘‘The parent is usually too busy trying to survive that they can’t help their child to survive.’’
Ms Monteith and Ms Meloury said they hoped to have taken four groups through the CMiM program before the end of the financial year.
Participants will also be offered vouchers throughout the program.
For referrals phone the Caroline Chisholm Society, Goulburn Valley Pregnancy and Family Support Service on (03) 5821 0826 and ask for Jeanette Monteith or Liz Meloury.