Domestic violence victims who flee dangerous situations with children in tow often arrive at hospital emergency departments, crisis services or police stations unprepared and without anything to keep the kids occupied and distracted. Often there is extensive waiting periods to provide statements or to receive medical treatment, and the waiting can lead to fed-up kids and strung out parents.
So domestic violence charity Friends with Dignity have created “Little Friends” activity packs that will be handed out to children to keep them distracted during stressful situations.
Over 3,000 packs have now been delivered to hospitals, police stations and refuges on the Gold Coast, and will be distributed to kids who find themselves waiting as a result of fleeing a dangerous home environment.
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Friends with Dignity Founder Manuela Whitford said the individual, self‐contained packs contain crayons, colouring in pages and stickers to allow kids to get creative.
“There is much research to suggest being creative and artistic can be therapeutic. These “Little Friends” packs aspire to share these calming therapeutic possibilities with as many families as possible,” she said. “By providing children with something meaningful to do at a time of uncertainty, these packs can help to redirect their thoughts from stressful, anxiety-inducing concerns to fun, learning and genuine child-appropriate creative activities,” Says Mrs Whitford.
Senior constable Nicola Williams told myGC the packs will be useful to keep kids distracted when they are at the station. “Parents don’t always have somewhere to take their kids when they need to come in and deal with things with police. So now when children do come in we have a way of entertaining them and giving them something to do,” she said.
Robina Emergency Department Social Worker Carla Simpson agreed, telling myGC the packs will be distributed to children who find themselves waiting while a parent receives medical care. “The emergency department can be quite a distressing and chaotic environment for a child to be in, so these packs will help keep them distracted while mum is having her medical issues attended to.”
Demand for the “Little Friends” Activity Packs is continuing to grow, so Friends With Dignity are calling on locals to donate to help fund more packs. For more information and to donate, visit: chuffed.org/project/little-friends-activity-packs