As Christmas approaches, we think of family, children, gifts and parties, but for women experiencing domestic abuse, Christmas can be an especially difficult time of year. As one mother of two from Nottingham describes:
“My kids never knew a safe Christmas without arguments. Christmas Day 2016 I ended up in hospital with a broken nose and some fractured ribs. This wasn’t the first time. It wasn’t until December 2017 that we had our first brill Christmas. My son was seven, my daughter was five, and we were in a refuge. So many unknown people had been involved. I will never know who they are, but they changed my family’s life.”
Midlands Women’s Aid is a dedicated women’s refuge and support service for the East Midlands. Gemma, from Nottingham, is fundraising to help MWA bring the magic of Christmas to children and teenagers escaping domestic abuse.
What’s the target? To raise £580 before Friday 14 December, to buy presents for 26 children, with extra cash to buy items such as rechargeable batteries and gift wrapping. Any additional funds will be spent on enhancing the children’s experience at MWA.
Gemma, who has worked indirectly with MWA for over three years, explains: “Domestic abuse incidents increase during the holiday season and the pressure to create a perfect Christmas may discourage women from taking the step to leave. With this fundraising, we hope to reassure and empower women with the knowledge that people care and that their children can still have a great Christmas experience whilst away from home.”
A crowdfunding page has been set up and presents will be chosen based on the children’s lists to Santa.
Catherine Saunders, CEO at Midlands Women’s Aid, says how grateful she is to everyone who supports the refuge: “We see an increase in referrals at this time. We provide ten units of refuge accommodation; sadly, we are full all year and often must turn families away. We do our best to ensure these families have a great time, but due to limited funding we cannot provide new gifts and seasonal items. We rely heavily on donations and fundraising. This Christmas, we will have 26 children with ages ranging from three to seventeen years old.”
To find out more about Midlands Women’s Aid, and to support the refuge, visit mwa.org.uk.
To support the appeal, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mwachristmas
Women who are experiencing Domestic Abuse this Christmas can contact Midlands Women’s Aid by calling 0300 302 0035.