The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. Sadly, for many families it can be dangerous. The increased stress, financial pressures and heightened emotions continue to contribute to a dramatic spike in family and domestic violence. As families gather to share in the spirit of Christmas, too many children face a harsh reality behind closed doors.
In Australia, family and domestic violence remains a pervasive and serious issue. 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.
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. With a change in routine and the closure of safe spaces like schools, sporting clubs and workplaces, the holiday period puts vulnerable families at greater risk.
When children should be excitedly unwrapping gifts, many are fleeing violent and unsafe situations. These experiences can leave children feeling scared and alone, often placing them in unfamiliar environments, and in some 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… a gift of hope at Christmas.
Media personality and long time Alannah & Madeline Foundation Ambassador, Melissa Doyle, is hoping others will join in her support and help the Foundation meet its target of 3,000 Buddy Bags.
“Every child deserves the warmth and comfort of Christmas, regardless of their circumstances. These little bags of love and essentials not only provide tangible support but also send a powerful message: you are not alone, and you are worthy of a safe and happy future.”
The Foundation’s Buddy Bag program has made a significant impact in the lives of thousands of vulnerable children across Australia, however more support is needed. Just $50 puts a Buddy Bag in the hands of a child in crisis this holiday season.
“Let's come together and ensure that every child can experience the magic of Christmas, no matter their journey, because the gift of hope and security is the greatest gift of all," Melissa added.
Every child deserves to feel safe, loved and cared for this Christmas. Donate today at www.alannahandmadeline.org.au/emma or phone 1300 720 747.
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 or interview requests, please contact:
Simone Redman-Jones - Media Manager, Alannah & Madeline Foundation
0499 202 001 or firstname.lastname@example.org