By Bryony Bishop
An appeal has been launched by Oasis Domestic Abuse Service, to ensure that Christmas magic reaches survivors who are staying in their refuges in Thanet and Dover.
The charity is asking for donations to help provide presents for children in refuge, as well as festive food and fun activities for the families to enjoy.
The festive period is one of the most dangerous times for victims of domestic abuse and, after the events of 2020, those experiencing abuse will feel even more isolated and scared. Oasis wants to make sure this Christmas time is magical for the families in their refuges.
The women and children in their care have fled their homes, often leaving their treasured possessions behind, to make the brave step towards living a life free from abuse. Coming to refuge is daunting and Christmas can feel like one more pressure for survivors to cope with. It can be even more confusing for children, who may not fully understand why they have had to leave behind everything they know.
This year, Oasis expects around 15 children to spend Christmas in their refuges.
An Oasis Child Support Manager said: “The first night in refuge can be overwhelming – children are often frightened and have no idea what to expect. Our first priority is to help them to feel safe. Each child will be given a special teddy bear to take to their new room and we will spend time answering their questions and reassuring them. They will usually have had to leave their belongings behind, so I help them to choose some new pyjamas and slippers from our donations room.
“Many children worry that Father Christmas won’t be able to find them at the refuge. Our playworker will help children to write to Santa and include them in the plans to decorate the playroom and put up the Christmas tree. We plan to hold a Christmas party for residents and want to make sure that Santa comes with a huge sack of presents for every child and every woman, to make this Christmas magical for them.”
Oasis is asking for donations to help them survivors in refuge on their journey to live a life free from abuse. Here’s how your valuable donation could help:
£10 – Cosy pyjama set for a child moving in to refuge for Christmas
£25 – Magical Christmas present for a child
£50 – food for the festive period for a family in refuge
£100 – Fun Christmas festivities for all residents in refuge
Loukia Michael, Oasis’s Fundraising Manager said: “Following everything that’s happened in 2020, this Christmas period will be different for all of us, but for those families in our refuges it will be even harder, at a time when it’s already extremely unsettling.
“At Oasis, we always provide as much comfort as we can through our services, and try and make this this time of year as special as it can be for the women and children in refuge. This Christmas, it’s critical we make it magical too.
“We hope our community will be inspired to give what they can. We know it’s a tough time for everyone, so even if giving a donation isn’t possible, we’d be grateful if people could share our safety and support information so that we can reach even more survivors this festive period.”
Make a donation
For further information and to donate, go to www.justgiving.com/campaign/ChristmasMagic
For further information about the Make Christmas Magic reach survivors campaign: please contact Loukia Michael Loukia.firstname.lastname@example.org
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, get help now:
For emergencies, call the police on 999 (if you can’t speak, cough or tap the handset then press 55 on your phone – the police will know it’s an emergency). In a non-emergency situation, you can call Kent police on 101.
For 24-hour support contact the National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000247.
For non-emergency support and safety planning in East Kent, call the Oasis helpline 078 5685 6278 or email email@example.com, if it is safe to do so.
Oasis work in numbers
- Helped 592 adults who were experiencing abuse with 1-1 support. There were 943 children in these families
- Worked with 157 children and young people on a 1-1 basis and 664 children through workshops and schools
- The average length of abuse suffered by adults accessing Oasis support was 52 months (that’s 4.3 years)
- 78% of children directly witnessed the abuse of another person
- 49% of children were directly physically abused themselves
- 40% of adult clients had experienced threats to kill
- 34% of adult clients had experienced attempted strangulation or suffocation
- 92% of children and young people that engaged in services know more about respectful relationships
- 207 people worked with have experienced a reduction in their symptoms of trauma and anxiety