For many people, Christmas and New Year is a great time of joy but it can be difficult for those living in fear of violence or abuse in their own homes. Every year, women, men and children in our community flee their homes because of domestic abuse. They often are highly stressed and have no time to pack but see this as their only chance to live in a safe place.
Domestic violence or abuse is not just a private matter and we all have a role to play in helping keep victims and their children safe. We want victims, their friends and relatives to know that help is available.
Domestic Violence Services and Refuge Providers will listen to victims, support them and give them time and space to decide what they want to do, without judgment.
THE NUMBER OF WOMEN USING THESE SERVICES INCREASES EVERY YEAR ESPECIALLY DURING THE CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR PERIOD.
How could you make their FIRST NIGHT easier? Birmingham Domestic Abuse Forums are asking people to donate items which families could use to make their first night easier.
How can you get involved and help victims and children on their first night in refuge?
From this week and running up until the end of January there will be collection points across the city:
- Make a donation– suitable items which families can use on their first nights in refuge including colouring books, pencils and crayons, puzzles, books to read, toiletries and chocolate. Items, which are new or in an exceptionally good condition are particularly welcome. See the list at the bottom of the page to find out where you can donate. View the top 10 items to donate here – Top 10 donation items.
- Display posters –you can click here to print off the First Night poster to display.
- Share details about the campaign with you colleagues, staff and mailing lists to raise awareness of the campaign and encourage people to make a donation.
- Set up a collection in your office – set up a box with the “top 10 items” poster (click here) to encourage people to take part. All collections would need to be taken to one of the official collection points for the campaign, which you can view on the website.
- Social Media – for Tweeters, raise awareness of the campaign by using #FirstNightDVA and promoting the collections photo album on Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/115231105@N05/sets/72157640070456663.
The message the campaign sends out to victims is extremely powerful. Women who come into refuges often question their decision, have they done the right thing, is it fair on the children? The fact that so many people are offering support in this way helps to show them that this is a positive decision and that we care and will work hard to keep them safe.
For details of the nearest collection points visit the Birmingham Community Safety website – http://birminghamcsp.org.uk/first-night