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Always keep communication channels open with your child

5 June 2024


The impact of domestic violence is devastating on so many levels that it is best to break the cycle sooner than later.


“The exposure to violence is traumatic at any age, even more so for a child. It impacts physical health, resulting in stomach aches and sleeping disorders, causes anxiety and low self-esteem, resulting in them struggling with aggression, not knowing how to manage their own relationships and to concentrate on their academic work.


“If the cycle of abuse is allowed to continue, it will in the long term negatively impact the daily functioning of a child. Breaking the cycle would prevent them from being exposed and victimised all over again,” says Dr Diana Zoccola, a Clinical Psychologist.


She concluded the webinar series of MISA, the Motor Industry Staff Association, educating and raising awareness amongst its more than 65 000 and the public, during Child Protection Week.


The Union designed the webinar series to fit the theme “every conversation matters”.


Zoccola says the series highlights the various legal options available to protect children and to seek help and encouraging a holistic collaboration between all stakeholders to protect our children.


“All of this would mean nothing if parents don’t build relationships with their children. Create that bond and a safe space where they can share. If you are too busy to chat with your child, even about the most insignificant thing, your child will never have the courage to talk to you about the bigger issues,” says Zoccola.


According to Zoccola children who suffer from abuse are often labelled as troubled children who has trouble accepting authority. That is because they are not equipped to voice their feelings, but must keep the secret.


The more people are encouraged to speak out and seek help, the more individuals will come forward to report.


“#MISA should not leave this only at awareness, but continue this drive to encourage victims to seek professional help. Children needs to be surrounded by positive role models and a community of support and help them develop coping skills.”


Zoccola says in her experience most children have remarkable resilience to challenges if provided with the appropriate support.


“Always focus on positive affirmation – I’ve got you. A part of coping is admitting that you are seeking help. A child must be allowed to express themselves without the danger of being hurt so they can escape the complex and devastating cycle of domestic violence.”


Heidi Reid, MISA’s Senior Vice-President and Chairperson of the MISA Women’s Forum, thanked all the experts who participated in the series.


The complete series can be watched on MISA’s YouTube Channel.


To watch today’s webinar, click on this link:


Issued by Sonja Carstens, Manager of MISA's Media & Communication Department, on behalf of the Union.

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