It has taken Anne more than 30 years to overcome the trauma of domestic violence after both she and her mother were abused by her step-father.
The cycle continued when she married an abuser. She's afraid her daughter is now facing a similar situation.
Anne is calling for more to be done for children of violent relationships, and she said while planning is important, the strategies to help children cope need to be in place now.
Anne was a keynote speaker at the Domestic Violence Prevention Council's extraordinary meeting addressing the needs of children and young people impacted by family violence, which took place in Canberra on Wednesday.
The meeting was attended by both Labor and Liberal MLAs, directors-general of a number of ACT government directorates including education, health and community services, key government advisors, the children and young people's commissioner and representatives from community groups.
It comes three years after the first extraordinary meeting convened by the DVPC - the peak advisory body on domestic violence - led to the funding and implementation of the Safer Families reforms.
However the initial reforms focused on the primary victims of domestic violence, often women.
DVPC chair Marcia Williams said at that time, there was an awareness of gaps in the system for children sufferers of domestic violence.
"We knew we had to have this meeting at some stage, and the timing is right now because other things that came out of the last meeting and were recommended to government are in place," Ms Williams said.
"We know there is still a lot of work to be done."
Ms Williams said the first meeting three years ago opened the conversation with the government about how it could improve responses for victims of domestic and family violence.
"It created an awareness, an understanding and an environment that helped make the government receptive to the Safer Families package. While it started the conversation for some of the victims, it was really about the women, the adult victims of domestic and family violence. We knew there was a whole range of issues that needed to be done in relation to children."
ACT minister for the prevention of domestic and family violence, Yvette Berry, attended the meeting on Wednesday but said it was a matter of waiting for the report and recommendations to be finalised before extra services were put in place for children.
"I don't think this is something that should be rushed," Ms Berry said.
She said it was important to make good use of the advice provided at the meeting.
"The work hasn't ever stopped in this space. I'm continually absolutely committed to addressing this terrible issue," Ms Berry said.
"I'm very happy to see so many more people are more committed to it now and it's so much more a public conversation. It's still very hidden, but it's less hidden than it was. The more we talk about it the better we will be able to respond to it."
ACT Children and Young People's commissioner Jodie Griffiths-Cook said close to 750,000 women had children in their care when they experienced violence by a partner. Three quarters of the women said the children heard or saw the violence.
"Children and young people don't have to be physically hurt to be the victims of family violence," Ms Griffiths-Cook said.
"They see it. They hear it. They are threatened. They are blamed. Family violence robs children and young people of the simple joys of childhood."
She said it was important to hear from children on the topic of what needed to be in place to help them.
"For a child or young person, being safe means feeling safe. To know what this means, we need to talk with them."
A report will be prepared with recommendations for the government to consider.
For Anne, change couldn't come soon enough.
"There's still not enough for children," she said.
"Everything takes time but it's taking too long. Sometimes people in that situation don't have time to wait for these things to change, it needs to be done now."
Quotes from victims, from the speech of the ACT commissioner for children and young people to attendees of the extraordinary meeting:
- "I tried to help. I tried to guard my mum so he couldn't hurt her. I didn't talk about it with anyone. I used to run down the stairs to see if mum was ok." – the words of an eight-year-old child
- "I remember standing at the bathroom door thinking she was dead. That was my impression. I remember thinking 'Oh my god, he has really killed her this time'." – an adult survivor of childhood family violence
- "It's life-changing, there's no peace. It can wreck your childhood. It's very scary, it's harmful, you can feel very afraid." – a young person speaking of their experience
- "Daddy might break in and push the door down and run in and get mummy and pull out a gun and shoot her and I can't help her." – a seven-year-old child