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Duchess Catherine warns even young children notice abusive relationships

File photo: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has warned even very young children ’notice’ abusive relationships. Picture: Reuters

File photo: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has warned even very young children ’notice’ abusive relationships. Picture: Reuters

Published Feb 24, 2022

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has warned even very young children "notice" abusive relationships.

The 40-year-old royal - who has children Princes George and Louis, eight and three, and six-year-old Princess Charlotte with husband Prince William - joined Denmark's Crown Princess Mary on a visit to the Danner Crisis Centre, a shelter for women and children exposed to domestic violence, on Wednesday.

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The duchess was told many of the women who arrive at the centre say their children have not seen any violence.

Catherine replied: “But children notice. The older they are, the more they can articulate and explain how they feel.

“Parents I’ve seen in addiction, their children are two or three who [they think] don’t notice it. But it’s because they don’t have a voice. But children feel relationships.”

Catherine heard how the children are given "comfort packs" of cuddly toys, pencil cases, notebooks and water bottles when they arrive at the shelter.

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The Danish royal - whose own The Mary Foundation funded the facility - told her guest: “It started as an idea to ensure that they had some practical things and some comforting things at the same time. But we soon realised that it had a much deeper effect than just to give them a toothbrush – it became a way to start a conversation.”

The packs also include personal postcards, on which Mary reassures the children they should talk about their experiences.

Catherine said: "It must be really helpful for the women who have just arrived to hear from others who have been here a bit longer, about what they have been through and share their stories.”

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Mary replied: “Sometimes they are not ready, because it’s too traumatic.”

Earlier that day, the duchess had visited a forest kindergarten to look at the "outdoor" ethos for young children in the country.

She watched five years olds split logs and tackled the challenge herself, and she also collected sticks for a campfire.

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Carla Bro, a teaching assistant, said afterwards: “She asked how we deal with risky play and how we keep things safe. We have safety rules and we teach the children they should not be afraid of tasks but treat them with respect.”

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