Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a child living in one of our women’s refuges?
There are a lot of rules in our refuges to keep everyone safe, for a child this means:
- They’re not allowed to tell their family or friends where they live
- They’re not allowed visitors
- They’ve often had to leave their personal belongings behind
- They can’t play in common areas without parent supervision, be left alone at the refuge or leave the refuge on their own
- They can’t return to their usual school, sports team or curricular activities
Life in refuge for children can feel quite isolated. The worst part is they don’t always understand the complexities of their situation or that their safety is of utmost importance.
Our women’s refuges do a wonderful job at trying to normalise a child’s life. They get a routine happening as soon as they enter by engaging them with local schools, kindergartens and day care centres. They help them access psychologists and organise a range of activities to keep them entertained. Refuge staff treat children with dignity and respect, quickly gaining rapport with them which instils a sense of safety and security. In addition, they support mums to attend invaluable workshops to learn about the effect of domestic violence on their children and how to assist them to recover.
This White Ribbon Day, 25 November 2016, we want to recognise the unique needs of the children living in our refuges and support the work of our refuges by encouraging everyone to get involved in our Activities 4 Kids Backpack Appeal.
We’re asking you to get together with colleagues, family and friends to buy a kids backpack and fill it with fun stuff like pencils, crayons, stickers, colouring in and activity books… anything that helps keep kids occupied.
Giving a child in refuge their very own backpack filled with fun things, gives them a sense that not everything they had before is lost. Having something to call their own encourages improved self-esteem and can remove some of the fear about moving to a strange, secret location as they have positive things to enjoy. The activities will also keep their minds busy while their mum is completing paperwork, attending appointments, having adult conversations or taking some time for herself.
So get on board and help us focus on the children living in our refuges this White Ribbon Day. Send your activity backpack by 14 November to
Brand & Communications Department
PO Box 912
Fortitude Valley Q 4006.
Bags will be distributed to children living in Ozcare’s Women’s Refuges on White Ribbon Day.