Each year 13,000 Australian children are taken into emergency care because they’re at serious risk of harm or have no safe place to live.*
We know that one in six women and one in 16 men experience violence at the hands of their current or former partner – and that more than half said their child saw or heard the violence.**
Tuesday 12 September is Alannah & Madeline Day, and national not-for-profit organisation Alannah & Madeline Foundation is urging Australians to donate and help provide vital support to children and young people who are experiencing violence and trauma to heal, recover and thrive.
Most of these children are fleeing dangerous domestic and family violence situations. These experiences can leave children feeling scared and alone, often placing them in unfamiliar environments, and in many cases separated from parents and siblings. Many children arrive in emergency care with nothing but the clothes they are wearing.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation provides these vulnerable children with Buddy Bags. These are brand new backpacks thoughtfully packed by volunteers with items to help meet their immediate material and personal care needs such as toothpaste, pyjamas, underwear, socks and a soft teddy bear – providing them with a sense of security and comfort as the first step on their journey to safety and recovery.
The Foundation’s CEO Sarah Davies AM said that family and domestic violence continues to be a major health and social issue in Australia.
“Family violence affects many Australian families. It occurs across all socio-economic, demographic and age groups, but predominantly affects women and children. We know children are more vulnerable to family and domestic violence. And we know it is increasing.”
The Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare told us that almost 2.1 million adults reported witnessing violence towards their mother by a partner before the age of 15.
Children witnessed family violence incidents on over 34,000 occasions, according to 2021 Crime Statistics Agency data.
“Experiencing family violence is traumatic for children and young people and can have long-term effects on their health and wellbeing. With the right support children can recover and a Buddy Bag can be the start of that important healing process”, Sarah added.
The Foundation currently has the capacity to provide around 6000 bags per year. With 13,000 children in Australia escaping violence each year, this means we only have enough Buddy Bags for 1 in 2 children in crisis – meaning half miss out.
“There are still too many children and young people exposed to violence and trauma”, says Walter Mikac AM, who founded the Alannah & Madeline Foundation in 1997 in memory of his two young daughters who were killed in the 1996 Port Arthur tragedy.
“Children have a right to be safe. It’s our mission to uphold that right so that they can thrive.”
Walter is asking Australians to dig deep on Alannah & Madeline Day so the Foundation can continue to champion the rights of children and young people to be safe from violence and trauma.
Donations made on Alannah & Madeline Day between the hours of 8am – 8pm AEST will be matched, so funds donated will go twice as far in helping support vulnerable children and young people in crisis.
- $50 can provide a Buddy Bag to a child
- $100 can provide Buddy Bags to TWO children
- $250 can provide Buddy Bags to FIVE children
- $500 can provide Buddy Bags to TEN children
“Only when a child is safe is their best future possible,” Walter said.
“That’s why we do what we do. Together, we can help traumatised children recover, heal and grow.”
Alannah & Madeline Day aims to raise $200,000 this year to help support vulnerable children and young people in crisis.
To donate visit www.alannahandmadelineday.org.au or call 1300 720 747
*Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Child protection Australia 2019-20 Canberra, 2021,
**Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Family, domestic and sexual violence data in Australia’, Canberra, 2021. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/domestic-violence/family-domestic-sexual-violence-data
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation was founded 26 years ago by Walter Mikac AM, and a small group of volunteers in memory of Walter’s young daughters Alannah and Madeline Mikac, aged just six and three, who tragically lost their lives along with their mother and 32 others at Port Arthur in Tasmania on 28 April 1996. The Foundation was established with the belief that “all children and young people should be able to live a happy and safe life, free from violence and trauma.” Our mission continues today through our Care, Prevention and Advocacy programs – we fight for their right to be safe, so their future is strong. www.alannahandmadeline.org.au
For further information, interview requests or images, please contact:
PR & Media Manager, Alannah & Madeline Foundation
0499 202 001 or firstname.lastname@example.org
All media assets can be found on our Alannah & Madeline Day media page: