The family of murdered Gold Coast mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson has thanked the community for their ongoing support, as they adjust to their new life as a family of ten.
Kelly’s sister Danielle and her husband Rhys have now taken in Kelly’s three children following her horrific death last week, allegedly at the hands of her estranged husband.
Danielle and Rhys have five children of their own and have admitted the kids are sleeping in the lounge room of their four-bedroom home as they try to adjust.
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Rhys told The Today Show, it’s been an understandably difficult time for the entire family.
“It’s been a rough week coming off the back of a rough couple of months since the passing of the girl’s mother,” he told the Nine Network.
“The girls haven’t had a chance to really grieve their mother’s death with everything that’s been going on.
“The thing that’s getting us through is just seeing the kids all together playing, gelling in a happy, safe environment.
“That’s really what’s giving us the drive to keep going.”
The couple was thankful for the huge amount of support they’ve received from those close to them, as well as the wider community.
A Go Fund Me set up for the family has already raised nearly $270,000.
On Wednesday, Dominos held a fundraiser for the family, with $2 from every pizza going towards helping them. Exactly how much that raised is still yet to be revealed.
A local construction entrepreneur has also called on the Gold Coast sector to come together to try and build the family a new home.
“The amount of support around us has just been absolutely outstanding and I’m not just talking about donations, I’m speaking about the emotional support,” Danielle said.
“The thought of raising eight children doesn’t scare me, I think we’ve got that under wraps. But my pain is with Kelly.
However, the couple admits it is going to be a difficult road for them to raise the large brood.
“There’s some big changes we have to make for sure,” Danielle said.
“The kids need the help through counselling and everything to get them through it,” Rhys added.
“We just want to give these guys the best quality of life that they can to get them through everything they’ve been through.
“Including our own kids as well, they’ve been there, they’ve heard all the details, it’s not fair on them as well.
“But the kids are all working well together and the only thing we can do now is to just give them the best quality of life that we can to hope that these traumatic experiences don’t surface as bad as they could in the future,” he said.
Danielle admits they are still working to get Kelly’s children to understand that their mum isn’t coming home.
“We’ve been in open discussions with the children as things are progressing and just letting them know that there’s a sense of belonging in our house,” she said.
“They are eternally loved and we are one big family now.”
When asked how they are managing to put on such brave faces, despite their own heartbreak, Danielle said it was her sister’s own bravery that was pushing her to go on.
“She stood up and she did what she had to for those children and I think now that’s been passed over to me and that’s what we need to do.”
The couple continued to echo calls for changes to be made to the system after senior Queensland Police admitted it had failed Kelly in the days leading up to her death.
“There seems to be so much support for after and there just seems to be not enough to prevent,” Danielle said.
“Kelly was reaching out to all kinds of support and in the end, there was nothing to safeguard her.
“I feel like she’s done her part and she’s got the world’s attention and it’s now up to all of us to step up and make sure that changes are made to safeguard our children and our future generations.”
Kelly Wilkinson's sister Danielle and her husband Rhys have taken in her three children, bringing the total number of kids in their household to eight. We spoke to the parents about how they're coping. #9Today pic.twitter.com/uHQBhC1iJQ
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) April 28, 2021
If you are in immediate danger call 000 now. If you require advice or assistance, the following services offer counselling and support.
Lifeline 24/7 telephone crisis support 13 11 14
DV Connect Queensland Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 phone 1800 811 811
1800RESPECT 24/7 phone 1800 737 732
Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast