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Home2018-04-19T03:34:43+00:00

EVERY CHILD SHOULD COUNT

Children’s exposure to domestic and family violence has enormous hidden consequences. It can have detrimental effects on their behaviour, education, mental and physical health and even their chance of becoming homeless in the future. The effects are often life-long and severe.

Children thrive in safe, stable and nurturing home environments where they have a routine and know what to expect. Secure, loving relationships with their parents and quality, uninterrupted learning opportunities at home and in school are key to future well-being.
A sudden or significant disruption in one area often leads to a domino effect in the others. Whilst being vital for their safety, finding themselves entering a family and domestic violence refuge can be extremely stressful for children of all ages and affects children’s feeling of security.

Many children enter a refuge with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. The urgency of their situation has meant that all their possessions have been left behind. Everything they know and love. Everything that brings them comfort. The immediate sense of loss is huge.

We aim to lessen the impact of that sense of loss for children entering refuges across Australia. In so doing, we hope to reduce the deep and lasting impacts that their displacement can have on their development physically, emotionally, and cognitively.

The exact number of children entering domestic and family refuges in Australia each year is not known. Funding is provided to refuges based on the number of clients that they service but, for funding purposes, only the mothers are considered to be clients – so only the mothers are officially counted. There is no national data collection agency for refuges, making the task even more difficult. Best estimates put the number at over 50,000 children. Last year, the first year of the program, we supported 400 children. This year our target is 1,000. Please help if you can.

“I was extremely grateful, as was Miss 15. It was just like Christmas and put smiles on our faces just when we thought our world was shattered… we will always remember this. Thank you so, so much.”

Mum of Miss 15

HOW WE HELP

Our Sunshine Swags are given to children as they enter a domestic and family violence refuge. Each swag is filled with age-appropriate and gender-appropriate items that are theirs to keep. The swags are designed to meet their immediate needs and to reassure them that they are valued and cared about. Refuge workers and previous refuge clients (including mums and children) all helped to determine the ideal contents.

Items to bring comfort and security
Items to bring comfort and security
Includes items such as soft toys, cuddle blankets, night lights, torches
Item to keep brains busy
Item to keep brains busy
Includes items such as puzzles, puzzle books, lots of reading books, travel games, card games, blank journals and writing pads, pens, pencils, crayons, erasers, rulers, pencil sharpeners, USB drives etc
Items to keep hands busy
Items to keep hands busy
Includes items such as craft kits, Lego, Play-Doh, activity packs, colouring-in books, stress balls
Quality time with mum items
Quality time with mum items
Includes items such as children’s cookbooks, board games, playing cards, matching cards, bedtime story books, bubble blowing kits
Items to keep bodies active
Items to keep bodies active
Includes items such as skipping ropes, handballs, bouncy balls, sports equipment
Other items for personal use
Other items for personal use
Includes items such as children’s mugs and crockery, towels and pillow slips
Toiletries and hair accessories
Toiletries and hair accessories
Includes items such as hair combs, hair brushes, hair accessories and toiletries