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Sam's experience

Sam is an 8 year old boy. His mother's new partner, Tim, physically abuses him and Sam disengages from his school and friends.

In the future, Sam will experience a coordinated response to his situation. The staff at his school refer him to a Support and Safety Hub, where he, his siblings and his mother, receive specialist  support to recover.

Current

  1. Sam experiences physical abuse from his mother Amy’s new partner (Tim), and his younger brother occasionally witnesses it. They often skip school. When they do go to school, it is often without lunch and in dirty clothing. Sam is withdrawn, disengaged and demonstrating signs of anxiety. Child Protection receive reports about Sam from his teachers. Child Protection investigate and find Tim is responsible for the harm to Sam. A safety plan is developed for his mum, Amy. Child Protection determine that the statutory threshold has not been met and refers Amy to a family support worker.
  2. Over time, Child Protection receive a number of reports about Sam and/or his brother. Following escalating abuse experienced by both boys, child protection issue Protection Applications based on the assessment that Amy cannot protect them, though she has tried to maintain the safety plan. The Children’s Court orders that Sam and his brother be placed into foster care.
  3. Tim has moved out of Amy’s home. Amy is linked to counselling. After some time, she is supported to resume care of her children.

Sam, an 8 year old boy

Future

  1. The school connects Sam to a Support and Safety Hub. The Hub team—which  includes a community based Child Protection worker—visits Sam and his brother  to undertake risk and safety planning that includes specialist expertise in child development and trauma informed practice. The Hub also undertakes risk  assessment and safety planning for his mother (Amy). Amy is supported to address the risks to her and her children and to get the support they need, including to obtain a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO).
  2. The Hub has full information about the entire family, including their history with services and attempts to manage risks. The Hub works with all services involved,  including Child Protection, to oversee the safety and support plan and revise it when risks change. With Amy’s consent, they involve the police in enforcing the  FVIO. They provide access to specialist support for her. Sam and his brother also have access to specialist support so they are secure in their home.
  3. As part of the FVIO, the Magistrate’s Court orders Tim to attend a men’s behaviour change program, where his attendance and any change in behaviour  is monitored. The Hub supports Tim in locating accommodation, given the exclusion conditions on the FVIO. As part of the Hub’s ongoing safety plan for Amy and her children, the risk posed by Tim is kept in view.

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