Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Breaking the cycle of trauma: How Berry Street… | Berry Street Skip to main content

Elly* and her two younger brothers grew up in a home filled with chaos, anger, violence and fear.

Their mum, Alicia, used alcohol and drugs to escape from the trauma of her own life and their father frequently used violence at home.

At Berry Street, we’ve seen the current cost of living crisis putting intense pressure on families like Elly’s – and we are seeing an alarming rise in neglect as a result.

This means we’re also seeing a sharp increase in demand for all our services.

When Elly and her brothers came into our care, they were showing signs of severe neglect and abuse. The boys refused to speak; a common trauma response in children.

Elly was incredibly protective of her brothers, and her biggest concern seemed to be that they might be split up. She was so worried about being taken into care, that she told us, “If I say I’m scared at home, where would we all go?”

Berry Street undertakes a range of approaches to help children like Elly and her brothers. This includes finding them a safe home to live, trauma recovery and therapy, family violence support and vital early interventions to help break the cycle of trauma.

It’s often true that a generational cycle of trauma and abuse exists within families like Elly’s.

Elly’s mum Alicia, cared deeply for her children, but she was dealing with her own traumas and did not have the resources available to her to be the best mum she could be.

Alicia had sadly experienced abuse in her own childhood and had not learnt to properly address her trauma.

Elly grew up in a home dominated by a violent, alcoholic father, just as her mum had.

The pattern repeats itself. Everything we know from research tells us the same would probably have happened to Elly.

It’s so important that we support Elly and children like her with our early intervention programs. Early intervention is the gold-standard approach to keeping children safe from further harm, and interrupting the cycle.

We know that Elly will do better staying within a family structure that is supported by evidence-based programs and services. This is key to rebuilding a child’s sense of safety, stability and trust.

Research shows1 that child neglect and abuse increase during times of economic crisis – and that’s exactly what our case managers are seeing right now in real time.

This is all piling more and more pressure on vulnerable and struggling parents. Parents like Elly’s, who have never had a good model of parenting themselves.

The best way for you to help Elly and children like her recover from trauma and go on to lead a healthy, happy life is to support our work through a donation. Your support has never been needed more.