At just six years old, Hunter* had already suffered years of severe emotional, sexual and physical abuse and neglect, and lived in a domestically violent home. His parents separated when he was three. However, Hunter remained in the care of the perpetrator, his father.
Child abuse and neglect are one of Australia’s biggest and most misunderstood social problems. Sadly, almost 50,000 children in Australia experience abuse or neglect every year, often by someone they know and should be able to trust; most often in their own home.
Act for Kids is an Australian charity working tirelessly to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect, providing free therapeutic support for thousands of vulnerable kids and families. Last year alone, we helped 46,084 children, parents and carers. But, there are many more kids, just like Hunter, who need urgent assistance.
When Hunter came to Act for Kids, his trauma was so profound that during his first therapy session, he drew a picture of himself as only a shirt and shorts, with no person inside. We learnt that this little boy’s survival method for coping with the abuse was to completely disconnect from the world. Sadly, this became harmful to his sense of self.
Through integrated therapy, Hunter started achieving some of his developmental milestones and learnt how to identify and respond to his ‘big’ feelings. In time, Hunter began to reconnect to his body and developed a positive sense of self.
After four years of intensive therapy at Act for Kids, this little boy is no longer just a shirt and shorts. He has become whole again.
How Third Link is helping
Funding from Third Link supports Act for Kids to provide even more vulnerable children, just like Hunter, with the life-changing therapy they need to overcome their trauma and heal little hearts and minds right across the country.
*Name changed to protect privacy.