If coming to refuge is difficult for adults, it can be even more confusing for children who may not fully understand why they have had to leave behind everything they know. For families arriving with us in December, Christmas can feel like one more pressure to cope with. This year we expect around 15 children to spend Christmas in our refuges. Our Child Support Manager explains how the team will work to help the children through the festive period:
“The first night in refuge can be overwhelming – children are often frightened and have no idea what to expect. My 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 I 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 always try to hold a Christmas party for residents and have Santa attend with a huge sack of (donated) presents for every child and every woman. It’s always magical.
Children carry the weight of unaddressed trauma with them through life. We attend to the emotional needs of each child, referring them for counselling or into one of our specialist Young People’s Mentoring Programmes.”
Help us raise awareness this Christmas and if you can, please consider donating to support our work.
Every donation you make gives survivors in our refuge the gift of living their life free from abuse. Here are some examples of how your valuable donation could help this Christmas:
- £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
Call our helpline on 0800 917 9948 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 09:30–11:30am, 12:30–2:30pm
Thursday and Friday 09:30–11:30am, except bank holidays) or email firstname.lastname@example.org (if it’s safe to do so)
If you or your family are in immediate danger please 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.
*All images used on this website are representative. All names are anonymised for people’s safety.