A new storybook that explores the impact of family violence on children has been launched by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence Minister Simone McGurk as part of the 16 Days in WA campaign.
The storybook, Peta’s Yarn, stars Peta the puggle and Sam the cockatoo, and is the latest title in a series of therapeutic children’s books that feature Australian animals and use metaphorical situations to examine ‘tough stuff’ experienced by children that can lead to big emotions.
The book is co-authored by Department of Communities child protection expert Verity Roennfeldt, who joined the Minister for the book launch and a special reading of Peta’s Yarn to a group of young listeners at the State Library of Western Australia.
Peta’s Yarn is a sensitive, responsive and practical resource that is designed to be utilised by parents, foster carers, child protection workers, family violence support services, educators, psychologists and others to help young people – including those with a lived-experience of trauma – to explore and understand their emotions in a safe and supported way.
The books are part of a wider Story Animals program that includes an initiative to design and create handmade fabric plush toys. These handcrafted plush toys double as therapeutic child protection practice tools to support safety behaviours, strengthening of cultural planning and connection for vulnerable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with their families, communities and care teams.
Today’s book launch was assisted by the NanaLinks ladies group, which is an Albany-based sewing circle led by Noongar elder Eliza Woods. The NanaLinks and other volunteers lovingly handmade 100 echidna puggle toys to accompany each printed copy of Peta’s Yarn for the 16 Days in WA campaign to stop violence against women and their children.
The books will be distributed to various stakeholders, including 40 refuges across WA, residential care facilities and local child protection districts.
Further information on the 16 Days in WA campaign is available online.
As stated by Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence and Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk:
“Storytelling is a powerful tool for establishing cultural education and assisting young people who have experienced trauma with the healing process.
“Growing up in an environment cruelled by family violence can have a devastating impact on a child.
“The Story Animals program provides unique and child-focused resources that specifically help affected children with coming to terms with their experiences, in a safe and nurturing way.
“The accompanying story animals, which are handcrafted by NanaLinks volunteers in Albany, represent a symbol of hope and love.
“We are very grateful for the work of the NanaLinks women, who deserve great respect for helping to promote opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to maintain and develop a deep, connected sense of self and culture.”
As stated by Peta’s Yarn co-author Verity Roennfeldt:
“Co-author Kelly Thompson and I feel a great sense of pride in developing our storybooks for children in care, and we are delighted to have released Peta’s Yarn during 16 Days in WA, which is a campaign very close to our hearts.
“It can be so difficult for children who have suffered trauma to process and come to terms with what they are feeling.
“By creating the story animals, and making them the heroes of relatable stories, children in out-of-home care are reminded that they are not alone and are very much loved for and cared for.
“Stories are a great way to teach kids about a variety of issues, without it being too overwhelming. These storybooks include tools to help kids explore their own experiences and share their own stories.”