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Women's and Girls' Emergency Centre

Holiday Support for Families Escaping Domestic Violence


Stress, financial struggle, loneliness and violence are not words that might typically come to mind when thinking of the holidays. However, for many women and families in our community, the festive period is the most feared time of the year.

The holidays are rapidly approaching and now is the time to anticipate the added stress that holiday festivities often bring to women and families. Bombarded with images of the “perfect family” gathered around a table spending quality time together, it can be easy to forget that this time of year is full of coercion, punishment and violence for many women. Sadly domestic violence increases at this time of year. And at Women’s and Girls’ Emergency Centre (WAGEC), we experience a higher need for extra support services for our clients.

We would like to share Vera’s* story with you. This story is unfortunately similar to what thousands of other women experience throughout the year and particularly around the holidays. For 18 years, Vera experienced an emotionally and physically abusive relationship with her partner. After yet another violent attack in October 2017, Vera realised something had to change. During this last attack, a particularly brutal one, Vera’s partner had threatened to strangle her in the midst of painful and scarring verbal abuse. It was at this point that Vera realised she needed to escape not only to save her life, but also to keep her three children safe. With an immense amount of strength and courage, Vera fled the violent relationship last November 2017. During this horrific and tumultuous time, Vera had no job or income, nowhere to live and no emotional support system due to escaping the violence. In this chaos and confusion, Vera worried how she would make it through the holiday season, let alone rebuild a life for herself and for her three children.

When Vera arrived at WAGEC, her case manager ensured that she and her children were safe in one of our crisis refuges. Our staff also reassured her that we would offer her all the support that we could throughout her transition and during the holiday season. Vera’s children participated in fun, educational activities through our school holiday program and the whole family attended WAGEC’s holiday celebration with the other families living at our crisis refuge, a safe, welcome change from the violence they usually experienced at Christmas. We provided Vera with gift vouchers so that she could purchase the gifts she knew her children wanted the most. Vera also participated in some of our group therapy sessions: a vital first step in overcoming the severe trauma she had experienced for many years at the hands of an abusive partner.

We want to make sure that all of the mums and children living in our crisis refuges this holiday season have the level of support they need, as well as the opportunity to participate in some festive activities.

Your kind donation this holiday season will help women like Vera and their families. For example:

  • $49 ensures that one mum can purchase a gift at the top of her child’s list this year.
  • $130 funds a two-hour therapeutic support group for our mums in order to help them with emotional regulation, resilience and coping with trauma and stress during the holiday season.
  • $250 covers the cost of a children’s holiday party and entertainer so that our young people at our crisis refuge can participate in festive activities.

“When I first got to WAGEC I didn’t think I would be able to afford any gifts for my children during the holidays. But WAGEC helped me to purchase gifts, which really made me feel like my case managers were family.” – Vera, previous client at WAGEC

We find it upsetting to think about women and children this holiday season living in dangerous and violent situations in their own homes. These women show tremendous strength in leaving abusive relationships only to find themselves full of despair and loneliness during the holidays. We know we can’t take away all of the pain and challenges that our clients are facing, but we want to do as much as we can to ease some of the stress they feel during the holidays. No one should be left feeling hopeless and completely alone during the festive period, but now is a time that can often exacerbate feelings of despair.

By making a donation of any size today, you can help give hope to women like Vera who are living in a crisis refuge this holiday season. Will you join us to ensure our women and families receive the extra support they need this holiday season?


*name has been changed for privacy.

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Contact Details

174 Redfern Street


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Yes, as soon as your donation is processed.