In abusive homes, children are often in the terrible position of trying to defend their families from violence. This was the case for Nadia, who vowed to keep her mum and her two younger brothers safe when she was just 14.

Nadia’s dad often beat their mother so viciously that she ended up in the hospital.  She and her brothers would sit outside in the dark listening to the screams when he hit her, making a heart-wrenching decision between staying in the safety of the carport or going inside to protect their mum. That’s when Dad would also turn on her.

The effects of violence spilled into every part of their lives. Nadia felt anxious all day at school not knowing what was waiting for her when she got home. Even having food to eat was an issue because their mum couldn’t put dinner on the table when their dad was on a rampage.

Like many survivors of domestic violence, Nadia’s mum was embarrassed and blamed herself. She lied about where she got her injuries. But the last time Nadia’s mum was hospitalised, the nurse knew her fractured jaw and ribs and the bruises all over her body were no accident. She recommended that Nadia’s family come to Barnardos for help.

Nadia’s dad was jailed after the attack, but her mum was scared of how far he might go to hurt them when he was released. She took the brave step of reaching out to Barnardos where she and her children were provided with ongoing counselling and support to help put their horrific experiences behind them. Our teams also worked to find a safe place for the family to live when their dad was released.

No child should ever feel like a parent’s violence is their responsibility.

Please donate today and help more children like Nadia understand that it’s not their fault and support them to move on from the trauma they’ve experienced.

* Please note: Names changed and models used to protect privacy.